Shakira

Fijaciˇn Oral, Vol. 1 (Sony)

Not too many, if any, of Shakira's contemporaries could go into hibernation for more than two years and still draw considerable attention when they resurface. The last time anybody heard from this Colombian pop diva was in 2002 when, owing to her trademark rock riffs and animated singing delivery, she made an adequate attempt of crossing over to the Anglo market with her highly successful Laundry Service, which included the catchy "Whenever, Wherever."

But the long wait was certainly worth it. Fijación Oral, Vol. 1 (Oral Fixation, Vol. 1) includes "Obtener un Si" ("Getting a Yes"), a jazzy track on which she begs for an answer from her supposed love interest, and "Escondite Inglés" ("Hide English"), a guitar-heavy rock cut. From the bluesy "En Tus Pupilas" ("In Your Eyes"), in which she sings about finally finding the eyes of somebody who truly loves her, to "La Tortura" ("Torture"), a fast-moving Arabic/flamenco/rap duet with Alejandro Sanz, Shakira displays an ability to change rhythms on the go as never before.

The musically diverse Fijación Oral, Vol. 1 is not going to make anybody forget 1995's Pies Descalzos, which netted her a handful of smash hits and launched her toward the mainstream. It certainly may not be what most of her followers, who have come to adore her aggressive, rock-influenced sound, expect after such a long hiatus.

Still, for the most part Fijación Oral, Vol. 1 is worthy of all the hype surrounding it. As is the case with some of Shakira's previous releases, there are instances when her lyrics are difficult to understand, although that has more to do with her bluesy singing style and habit of distorting the words. However, she proves once again she can sing at any pace without skipping a beat.

 
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