Release date: October 2010
"Sale el Sol" (English: The Sun Comes Out) is the third bilingual and seventh studio album by Colombian Latin-pop singer-songwriter Shakira. The album was released on October 19, 2010. In a promotion strategy, Los 40 Principales in Spain premiered the album on streaming on October 12, one week before the album release.
In June 2010, during an interview with Billboard magazine, Shakira stated that "I see the new album as having two currents," she stated. "One is a lot about love and love experiences and emotions. And the other side of it is very joyful, and upbeat." Shakira also revealed that the music on the album would reflect influences from both the Dominican Republic and Colombia. "It's a little more Latin on one side and a little more rock 'n roll on the other side," she stated. She later compared her new material to the Oral Fixation era's music, stating that she was "going back to basics" for the record.
"Sale el Sol" is Shakira's latest shift of direction. Her 2009 album, "She Wolf," aimed for the international common denominator of electronic dance music; Shakira produced most of it with the Neptunes, a team of prolific, and familiar, hip-hop and R&B hit makers. "Sale el Sol," with songs primarily in Spanish, drops that mainstreaming strategy in favor of instinct, whim and glimmers of what Shakira calls nostalgia. It's full of idiosyncratic crossovers and hybrids, often tied to very specific places.
"It's like I found myself again," Shakira said. "You get influenced by everything you hear on the radio, or maybe by what you feel that other people's expectations are. But then you suddenly realize that everything you need to write about is what's inside of you — to not look outside but inside."
Pitbull, a Cuban-American rapper who appears on the album, said: "On the last album they tried to Americanize Shakira by giving her the big producers. Not that it was necessarily a bad thing, but it's just not her."
While the album's title song, the folk-rock "Sale el Sol," calls for optimism through difficult times, songs like "Devoción," "Antes de las Seis" ("Before 6 O'Clock") and "Lo que Más" ("The Most") churn with longing, regrets and loneliness. "We all go through hard moments," Shakira said. "Whatever happened, it's right there in the the songs." She smiled. "I've decided that I'm not going to explain every song this time. It's hard to explain a song. These songs explain me better than I can explain them."
The music hopscotches across hemispheres, at times looking back to the music Shakira loved while growing up in Barranquilla. "Barranquilla is the cradle of Carnaval in our country," she said. "All the stuff from the islands and from those neighbor countries, all that music got to Barranquilla."
Shakira grew nostalgic for merengue, from the Dominican Republic, and three songs on the album, including "Loca," are electrified merengue fusions. Referred by Pitbull — "I always try to listen to what's hitting in the streets in different parts of the world," he said — Shakira recorded with a Dominican producer and rapper, El Cata, in his tiny studio in a rough neighborhood of Santo Domingo.
"If I was thinking that this little studio was going to be in the world's vision at this time, I wouldn't believe it," El Cata said by telephone from Santo Domingo. "She told me, 'You have something that makes me move.' I told her it was the percussion, and I said, 'Those sounds that you want, I have them in my studio.' "
Another Latin-rap hybrid, "Gordita" ("Little Fatty," a term of affection), pairs Shakira with René Pérez Joglar, who is the rapper Residente in the Puerto Rican alternative hip-hop group Calle 13. The beat is a Colombian cumbia with the drums pumped up, and Residente raps, in Spanish, that he liked Shakira better when — early in her career: she was chubbier, had dark hair and was a rock chick. "I told her it was a good idea to make fun of yourself," he said by telephone from Puerto Rico, "That way the haters can't say anything, because you already said it."
In United States, Sale el Sol debuted at #7 with sales of 46,000 on the Billboard 200. It became Shakira's fourth top ten album and her third highest album debut on the top ten after Fijación Oral Vol. 1 debuted at #4 and Oral Fixation Vol. 2 debuted at #5 both in 2005. The following week, the album dropped nine positions to #16 with sales of 20,399 , 56 percent less than previous week. The album also debuted at #1 on Billboard's Top Latin Albums charts, and became her fifth number one album on the chart and also topped almost every chart throughout Latin America. According to Nielsen SoundScan, "Sale El Sol" was the highest debut for a Latin album of 2010. During the first week, Sony Music VP of marketing for Latin America Fernando Cabral said that more than 50,000 units were sold — an extraordinary amount for the market. The album debuted at #3 on European Top 100 Albums after debuting at No. 1 in Spain and Portugal, No. 2 in France, No. 3 in Austria, No. 6 in Germany and No. 10 in the Netherlands.
In Colombia, the album sales reached 20,000 copies in one day with first week sales of a record breaking 100,000 copies.