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Pop - Released January 21, 2014 | RCA - Sony Latin Iberia

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World - Released November 13, 2001 | Epic

The Latin pop and rock en español fields are full of talented artists who would probably be huge in the English-language market if they didn't sing in Spanish exclusively. Some non-Spanish-speaking listeners don't mind listening to lyrics they don't understand -- the beat and the melody are enough for them -- but many others insist on understanding every word that is coming out of an artist's mouth. Thus, Latin stars usually don't cross over to English-speaking audiences until they start singing in English, which is what Shakira does on 2001's Laundry Service. "Whenever, Wherever," this album's infectious lead single, is to Shakira what "Livin' la Vida Loca" was to Ricky Martin: the major hit that brought her to English-speaking audiences in a big way. For Shakira, singing and writing in mostly English was no doubt a challenge -- Spanish, after all, is the Colombian star's primary language. But it's a challenge that she handles impressively well. Shakira, it turns out, sings quite convincingly in English -- and her creativity is at a high level on melodic, hooky pop/rock like "Rules" and "Ready for the Good Times." Like Shakira's Spanish-language albums, this self-produced CD is enjoyably eclectic; she successfully combines pop/rock with everything from tango on "Objection" and Andean music on "Whenever, Wherever" to Middle Eastern music on "Eyes Like Yours" (which contains lyrics by Gloria Estefan and is an English translation of Shakira's late-'90s smash, "Ojos Así"). While nine of Laundry Service's 13 tracks are in English, four are in Spanish (including Spanish translations of "Whenever, Wherever" and "Objection"). And by including these four tracks, Shakira seems to be assuring her Spanish-speaking fans that she hasn't abandoned them. Dónde Están los Ladrones? remains Shakira's most essential album, but Laundry Service is an excellent English-language debut for the South American vocalist. © Alex Henderson /TiVo
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Latin America - Released May 26, 2017 | Sony Music Latin

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Latin America - Released October 19, 2010 | Sony Music Latin - Epic

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Pop - Released November 28, 2005 | Epic

Shakira delights in confounding expectations, and nowhere is that better seen than in how she secured a massive crossover audience on her own terms. She blended Latin pop and American mainstream pop, on both the dance and easy listening sides of the equation, on her 2001 breakthrough, Laundry Service, but it was no crass cash grab -- she eased herself into the transition, balancing songs in Spanish and English on the record while crafting tunes in both languages to appeal to both longtime fans and new listeners. That set the stage for her magnum opus of 2005, the two-part album Fijación Oral/Oral Fixation. Volume one was her first Spanish-language Latin pop album since 1998 and the second was her first ever all-English crossover album, and if anybody was expecting the latter to be a continuation of Laundry Service, consisting of nothing but sexy dance tunes and power ballads, Oral Fixation, Vol. 2 will be a bit of a surprise: it's a deadly serious, ambitious pop/rock album, most assuredly not frivolous dance-pop. Even when the album dives into pulsating neo-disco, it's in the form of a protest song in the closer, "Timor," which isn't exactly by-the-numbers pop. And that's a pretty good description of Oral Fixation, Vol. 2 in general -- it's pop, but it's unconventional. Even when she alludes to pop divas past, whether it's with the foreboding gospel choir on "How Do You Do" that brings to mind "Like a Prayer" or how she cribs from Alanis Morissette on "Illegal" ("You said you would love me until you died/And as far as I know you're still alive" is very close to "You Oughta Know"), Shakira twists these references to her own purposes, taking the music in unexpected directions. All these turns and detours lead to the same general destination: the sound is grandly theatrical, darkly sultry, and unapologetically lurid, a place where Madonna and U2 exist not as peers, but as collaborators. For if this album is anything, it's a global pop/rock album with each of those modifiers carrying equal weight: these are pop songs performed as arena rock, belonging not to a single country but to the world as a whole. As such, the album touches on everything from the expected Latin rhythms to glitzy Euro-disco, trashy American rock & roll, and stomping Britpop, all punctuated by some stark confessionals, as Shakira sings about everything from love to religion, stopping along the way to reveal that women with 24 inch waists may indeed be heartbroken. If some of these ideas don't necessarily gel, at least Oral Fixation, Vol. 2 is alive with ambition and, more often than not, Shakira winds up with music that is distinctive as both songs and recordings. And that means that Oral Fixation, Vol. 2 is not only a markedly different album from Fijación Oral, but from every other record in her catalog -- or, most importantly, from any other pop album in 2005. Other artists may be bigger than Shakira while others may make more fully realized albums, but as of 2005, no other pop artist attempts as much and achieves as much as Shakira, as this often enthralling album proves. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Latin America - Released November 13, 2019 | Sony Music Latin

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World - Released February 29, 2000 | Epic

The acoustic-oriented performances one hears on the show MTV Unplugged have a nice way of separating the men from the boys and the women from the girls. When artists go acoustic -- or at least semi-acoustic -- on that program, they can't hide behind decibels and amps or try to win you over with volume for the sake of volume. They become exposed and vulnerable, which is a good thing if they have solid material, strong vocals, and genuine talent to offer -- although it isn't so good if they are lacking in those areas. Shakira, not surprisingly, emerged triumphant when she appeared on MTV Unplugged, and this 2000 release is a fine document of that appearance. Mainly performing songs from 1999's Dónde Están los Ladrones?, Shakira demonstrates that she doesn't need studio gloss to sound great. Are her studio albums full of slickness and studio gloss? Absolutely. But ultimately, the thing that does the most to enrich Dónde Están los Ladrones? and 2001's Laundry Service isn't the albums' shiny, attractive production -- it is great vocals and great songwriting. "Si Te Vas," "Moscas en la Casa," "No Creo," and other Latin pop/rock gems lose nothing when Shakira unplugs; in fact, the Columbian vocalist really shines in an intimate, acoustic-oriented live setting. This more intimate environment tends to isolate the lyrics, which is certainly a plus when Shakira is performing something as poetic as the Arabic-influenced "Ojos Así." Of course, those who don't speak Spanish won't be discussing the lyrics of "Ojos Así" or any of the other tracks; this CD preceded Shakira's first English-language effort, Laundry Service, and came at a time when she was still recording in Spanish exclusively. But regardless of whether or not one understands Spanish, MTV Unplugged is an excellent live album. © Alex Henderson /TiVo
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Pop - Released December 5, 2011 | Sony Music Latin

Combining highlights from two concerts performed in Paris in June of 2011, Live from Paris is a live set available as either a Blu-ray, DVD, or CD, all containing a similar program (the CD runs 19 tracks, while the video contains the full 22-song program). Supporting her 2010 album Sale el Sol and, particularly, its hit single “Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)," Shakira leans heavily on glitzy electro-dance crossovers but finds room for quieter moments, whether it’s a stripped-down cover of Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters” or her own “Gypsy,” keeping the momentum running throughout a lengthy set, then bringing down the house with “Waka Waka.” Certainly, the video versions of Live from Paris give a greater indication of the size of the spectacle, not to mention how they emphasize Shakira’s intense charisma, but as an album this envelops you with its energy. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Pop - Released March 7, 2014 | Epic

Last time around, Shakira touched upon so many styles she couldn’t be contained on one album, splitting Oral Fixation in two. This time, she focuses on one sound only: a pulsating electro-disco that crosses all boundaries and welcomes all nationalities. Such concentration behooves Shakira, freeing her to release her inner She Wolf, a wild wacko who’s as cuckoo as she is carnal. And for as sexy as Shakira is -- crucially, her music is sexy too -- what really gives She Wolf its bite is her inspired nuttiness, how she laments that Matt Damon’s not meant for her, and wishes her ex-lover and his new girl a horrible vacation where the room smells and the toilet doesn’t flush. “Darling, it is no joke, this is lycanthropy,” she sings on the title track with no small trace of humor, and this blend of cheerful weirdness and sick beats -- often supplied by the Neptunes, delivering tough, sensual rhythms in a way they haven’t in a long time, but also John Hill and Wyclef Jean -- is giddily addicting, a celebration of all the strange sensuality that comes out at night. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Pop - Released March 14, 2014 | RCA - Sony Latin Iberia

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World - Released November 5, 2002 | Epic

After Shakira's international breakthrough with her first English-language album, her record company decided to release Grandes Exitos, targeted at Spanish-speaking audiences. This record gathers her hits from Pies Descalzos, Dónde Están los Ladrones?, and MTV Unplugged, as well as some Spanish versions of hits from Laundry Service (previously edited on the same album in Spanish-speaking countries). The smash hit "Whenever, Wherever" here is "Suerte," while "Objection" is "Te Aviso, Te Anuncio." Even though Shakira is usually compared to other Latin stars like Thalía or Paulina Rubio, she has more to offer and you can hear it on this album. She manages to make the sound her own, mixing pop, rock, and some oriental sounds (such as on "Ojos Así"). For those who are looking for all of her hits in Spanish, this is the disc to start with. © Iván Adaime /TiVo
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World - Released September 29, 1998 | Epic

1996's Pies Descalzos was Shakira's big commercial breakthrough; it was that album that established the Colombian singer as a superstar in Latin America. But Shakira's next album, Dónde Están los Ladrones? (which means "Where Are the Thieves?" in Spanish) is arguably the finest and most essential album that she recorded in the 1990s. This superb CD isn't just Latin pop -- it's also rock en español. Dónde Están los Ladrones? inspired some reviewers to compare Shakira to Alanis Morissette, but that comparison is only valid up to a point. The Colombiana sings with a bit of a cackle (something Morissette is known for) on pop/rock jewels like "Si Te Vas" and "No Creo," but Shakira is a very different kind of lyricist. While Morissette is famous for being angrily introspective and having a mad-at-the-world outlook, Shakira's lyrics tend to be poetic and are, at times, unapologetically romantic -- even if Morissette sang in Spanish, it would be hard to imagine her coming up with something as poetic as the Middle Eastern fantasy that Shakira vividly describes on her Arabic-influenced mega-hit "Ojos Así." And, besides, Shakira already had a few albums under her belt when Morissette enjoyed her big commercial breakthrough with 1995's Jagged Little Pill. Of course, only those who have some knowledge of Spanish will be impressed by Shakira's lyrics; Columbia doesn't provide English translations. What will impress non-Spanish-speaking listeners are the CD's attractive melodies and the emotion that the artist brings to her songs; you don't have to speak a word of Spanish to find Dónde Están los Ladrones? musically exciting. If you're acquiring your first Shakira release, this would be the ideal choice. © Alex Henderson /TiVo
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World - Released October 6, 1995 | Epic

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Pop - Released June 3, 2005 | Epic

Laundry Service gave Shakira her long-anticipated English-language breakthrough, turning her into a global superstar in the process. A hit of that magnitude is hard to follow, so it shouldn't be a great surprise that she toiled on its sequel for upward of four years. What is surprising is that the subsequent album was split in two -- à la Kill Bill -- with the first being devoted to Spanish tunes and the second consisting entirely of English songs; the teasing titles Fijacion Oral, Vol. 1 and Oral Fixation, Vol. 2 indicate which is which and which hit the market first. It's kind of a sharp move to release Fijacion Oral first, since it not only satisfies her longtime fans who have been waiting a long time for a collection of brand-new Spanish material (she hasn't delivered one since 1998's Dónde Están los Ladrones?), it also subtly signals that she won't be placing American success above anything else. Similarly, Fijacion Oral smartly straddles the line between traditional Latin pop and the sexy, splashy dance-pop and bombastic adult contemporary pop that made Laundry Service a big hit in the U.S.: its heart is in the former, but the production -- the omnipresent Rick Rubin serves as the executive producer -- is slick and bright, enough to make the first single, "La Tortura," sound like a natural for American radio (even if it will never be played because it's sung in Spanish). Despite the surface sheen, Fijacion Oral is proudly a Latin pop record, and it conforms to the conventions of its genre, alternating between melodramatic ballads and insistent dance tunes, sometimes working a sleek bossa nova number into the equation for good measure (the terrific "Obtener un Sí," which sounds like it could have been a big hit in the late '60s). Even if it doesn't break convention, it nevertheless does its job extremely well, with an ample amount of style and flair, as well as more songcraft than Shakira is usually given credit for. She's written each song here, sometimes in collaboration with either Luis F. Ochoa or Lester Mendez, and these ten originals (the 12-track album includes two alternate versions) have a combination of commercial savvy and smart writing, making this album a small triumph, proof that Shakira can not only return to her roots, but expand upon them. Since this is a Latin pop record through and through, it will not cross over the way that Laundry Service did, but that's by design: Fijacion Oral, Vol. 1 will conquer half of the world, and the other half will follow with Oral Fixation, Vol. 2 in six months' time. Given the strength of this album, it's hard to wait for the second part to arrive. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Latin America - Released June 8, 2018 | Sony Music Latin

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Latin America - Released January 13, 2020 | Sony Music Latin

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Latin America - Released February 2, 2017 | Sony Music Latin

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Pop - Released March 22, 2004 | Epic

Buying time while she preps a follow-up to 2001's Laundry Service, Shakira released the CD/DVD combo Live & Off the Record in the spring of 2004. This is standard practice for her -- between each of her studio albums, she's released collections of remixes or live material. One of those, 2000's Unplugged, was excellent, capturing the diva on the rise and revealing another side of her musical personality. In contrast, Live & Off the Record doesn't offer any such revelations -- it captures the big-budget spectacular of her stadium shows. As such, the DVD is preferable to the CD, since it has it all: the light shows, a 90-minute program that's close to a full concert, and, of course, footage of Shakira herself, singing, playing guitar, and dancing, all of which is worthwhile for hardcore fans. On record, this same material, cut from 15 songs to ten, is enjoyable -- more so than other live albums from dance-pop divas, since Shakira sings live and the arrangements are longer and occasionally different than their studio versions -- but it's not as absorbing as the visual experience. Overall, it's not bad and it will surely be of interest to hardcore fans -- who themselves will be the only ones who have the patience to sit through the hourlong documentary on the DVD, filled with footage of Shakira touring the world and doing such fun things as blowing bubbles, getting massages, and being serenaded by a mariachi band -- but it's ultimately not much more than a stopgap release between original albums. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Pop - Released November 6, 2006 | Epic

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Shakira in the magazine