Outside of America, Shakira has been rocking Latin-American music fans with unabashed sexuality and passion that are far more scorching than any of the soft porn overtones of Britney Spears – and she’s been doing it longer than Ms Spears. A rock diva, a fiery seductress, a coquette ingenue, and a passionate lover – Shakira embodies all of this persona in the first of her Fijación Oral opus. The English second volume is to follow later this year, by the way.
All of the tracks here are either straight-out pop or pop music laced with oh-so-typical eccentric beats and twists typical of Shakira who produced, singly wrote and composed, or co-wrote all the tracks on this CD. The leading single La Tortura is a duet with Alejandro Sanz. Hmm, in all my years of being familiar with Mr Sanz, I never really find his rather bland music interesting. But in this duet, he seems to be possessed by the spirit of some Lothario as he half-raps, sings so sultry, and sets my spine all tingly as he begs earnestly for his ex-lover to give his one last chance. Shakira’s part is about the defiant woman not willing to give the cheating bastard any time of day. “Man doesn’t live on bread alone!” he tells her in Spanish. “Nor do I live on excuses!” she tells him off beautifully. Heh.
Yet in tracks like the beautiful old-school Bossonova ballad Obtener Un Si, she comes off like some innocent wide-eyed girl so in love with someone that her world sings as a result. This is a fascinating contrast to tracks like Las De La Intuición, where Shakira weaves a web of unabashed seduction around the object of her desire. This track is my favorite on the CD because it has everything, it seems – an eccentric and sweeping like trance beat throbbing in the background as Shakira launches into a very catchy song that culminates in a killer chorus. Songs like this that are so good should be made illegal, it seems, because something this good surely can’t be good for the mind!
Shakira doesn’t let the heat die down with fabulous and always catchy tracks like No and La Pared, and even the ballads don’t keep the mood low. From start to finish, Fijación Oral Vol. 1 is like a musical excess dripping in hedonism, lush and sexy in every way. Musically, the CD is diverse, exploring straight pop to even sounds of B-52’s in Escondite Inglés with detours into reggae, bossonova, and of course, rock. Shakira’s Dia Especial, which she collaborated with the great Gustavo Ceratti on, is one of those tracks that are a throwback to the Shakira of yore when she was a fiery rocker blasting out gems like Que Me Quedes Tú.
I love fabulous camp dance music of Scissors Sister, Kylie Minogue, the B-52’s, and Erasure. I adore catchy pop-rock tunes, especially those from the 1980s, with their melodramatic New Romantics affectations. Of course, no-nonsense rock and roll gets me going too. Therefore, when an album like Fijación Oral Vol. 1 manages to embody every one of those elements that make me love music very well and fuse them into an album that comes close to perfection, I can’t help but to have the time of my life. This CD is as close to perfection put to music for me. Bless.