So coming after the more electropop stylings of 2009's She Wolf, news that she'd signed a management deal with Roc Nation, been hanging around with the likes of megabangerz merchants Dr Luke and Max Martin and collaborated with Rihanna brought mixed feelings - what would become of our non-mountain-breasted true original, the one who wrote angry songs about East Timor and hung around with Gabriel Garcia Marquez?
But there was no need to fear - though you might find this she-wolf in the odd closet, she'll be crammed into no man's Procrustean pop pigeon-hole. Though her new World Cup track 'La La La (Brazil 2014)' has the bones of a monstrous, reptile-brained banger, it's animated by a spirit that's unmistakably Shakira; its flouncy, fiery come-and-have-a-go challenge romping across both the football field of dreams and, on the alternate lyrics of the standard album version, the gladiatorial love-combat of the dancefloor.
It characterises an album that nails a fine balance between keeping what's best about Shakira and running with the rat race of relevance. Just as finely judged is Rihanna collab 'Can't Remember To Forget You', its antsy, itchy-rhythmed verses and crashing, dramatic chorus both purest Shakira and fighting fit for the pop agenda.
As befits a self-titled 10th album, the rest of the record ranges wide across Shakira's styles. 'Empire' is a more mature, classic, piano-led sort of pop with a star-gazing, philosophical rush, Shakira keening: "The stars make love to the universe" as the track rushes to a cosmic-orgasmic chorus. 'You Don't Care About Me' is bruised and moody Latin guitar-pop, while her co-producers on that track and 'The One Thing', The Messengers, are given a guest spot in their guise as Magic! on the wounded reggae-pop of 'Cut Me Deep'.
'Spotlight', one of several tributes to footballer boyfriend Gerard Piqué, has the feel of a Katy Perry or even a Carly Rae Jepsen ballad, but that purr and that way with words lift it clear of the commonplace. The oddest stylistic turn of all, though, is a collaboration with her fellow former The Voice US coach Blake Shelton; a heart-wrenching modern country ballad of the shlockiest order called 'Medicine'.
Lines like, "I won't reach for the bottle of whisky/ You won't see me popping the pills" sit a little oddly on Shakira, but one of her other great powers is the ability to get away with being adorably naff by virtue of charm, gutsy connection and great songs.
Shakira feels like quite a short record after over four years out of the fray, but given that fillered-out overreaching is the downfall of so many pop albums, brevity is a blessing enjoyed by the self-confident. If you're after something cutting-edge that pushes pop forward, you won't find it here, nor will you find, this time around, much in the way of political comment.
Shakira's quite content to dance a deft, concise shimmy over a tightrope of integrity and currency - the fickle world can either shake its hips or sling its hook.
Tracks to download: 'Dare (La La La)', 'Spotlight', 'Can't Remember To Forget You'
Listen to Shakira on Spotify below: