She's only 24, but Shakira has been a Latin music sensation since she was 13, racking up huge sales in countries like Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and Spain.
While there's a temptation to write this quickly off with something like “Meet the new blonde, same as the old blonde,” this Columbian songstress is definitely a step above most of the golden-haired divas making the star scene these days.
This is destined to be her English-language breakthrough, and with good reason. She writes all her own lyrics, some of her own music and has a voice that recalls singers like Alanis Morissette and Toni Childs. And while this is undeniably a disc to dance to, it's laced with a rock edge, a fusion of sounds that works perfectly on tracks like the crunching ballad “The One” and the U2-textured “Poem to a Horse.”
The production is consistently intriguing as well, from the wildly upbeat opening “Objection (Tango)” and the power ballad “Underneath Your Clothes” straight through to the standout “Wherever.” The latter, which features deep Andean flutes, twang-time guitars and tons of percussion, was penned with fellow Latin superstar Gloria Estefan.
Occasionally, things get a bit heavy handed, as during one of the album's four Spanish-language songs “Que Me Quedes Tu,” but more often than not, Shakira keeps things very interesting. A sure bet for a major breakout, this is a very refreshing break from the humdrum pop of the moment.