Review Summary: The deluxe edition by Shakira is even better than the original!
If there is ever a deluxe edition that is truly worth re-buying, it's this one.
Despite containing basically the same songs as in the eleven-track Oral Fixation Vol. 2, this exclusive version includes the internationally famous "Hips Don't Lie" (Featuring Wyclef Jean), and includes some phenomenal remixes of her past hits.
This reloaded version also shifts the tracklist around, but now it makes much more sense. It once again opens with the chants of "How Do You Do," yet the song's follow-up is the mellow "Illegal" (Featuring Carlos Santana). The reason why this works so well is that "How Do You Do"'s magnificent meaning and music makes "Don't Bother" seem ridiculous as the next track (a cut-through-veins song, showing Shakira as fierce as ever). Instead, the pleasing initialization of "Illegal" complements "How Do You Do" much better.
And that seems to summarize the rest of the album: pleasing. The only exception occurs when "Costume Makes the Clown" is followed by "Something," a song that would have been out of place anywhere in the album. See, once hearing the Spanish version of "Something" (entitled "En Tus Pupilas" from her Spanish counterpart album), you simply do not want to hear it again. The song is too soft, too light to make it work--it would be like translating "Underneath Your Clothes" to Spanish, with a bleak title like "Debajo de Tu Ropa." Though the translation is much sweeter than the original, I cannot help but notice how much better it sounded in Spanish.
Not even the rough translation of "Dia Especial" ("The Day And The Time") seemed as terrible as I thought when I found out it would be translated. The music is much more upbeat and danceable, and though her use of vocabulary seems a little fake ("amnesty," "ambiguity," "ephemeral"--don't get me wrong, the meanings are simple enough, but in the song they just seem a tad manufactured), the song in whole is so incredibly crazy that it instantly becomes loveable.
Speaking of loveable tracks, take a listen to "Your Embrace" and "Dreams For Plans." It is surprising that Shakira can pull a ballad when her music is mainly dance. "Your Embrace" begins with strings and Shakira speaking of her 24-inch waist and lack of "touch" from her partner. "Dreams For Plans" is amongst the most confusing songs in the album (grouped with "The Day And The Time" and "Costume Makes The Clown"). The truth is, the chorus hardly makes any sense, "Have we changed our hopes for fears/And our dreams for plans?" Dreams for Plans? Well anyway, the rest of the song is a masterpiece in itself... so who cares how crazy the lyrics are when the music is so good?
The brightest moments in the album occur when "Animal City," "Hey You," and "Timor" are first listened to. "Animal City" is a mariachi-rock song (wack, huh?) with animal sounds in the end. This song probably was written by Shakira in view of her fame, and how insightful the song turns out to be! "So be obedient don't argue/Some are ready to rip you my love!" is easily the best line sung, and just in case you don't believe her, near the end she throws in a couple of "cannibal world" to remind you that, hey I live in a cannibal world--an animal city!
"Hey You" (not a Pink Floyd cover guys) is the most playful song in Oral Fixation Vol. 2. Shakira sounds like she is truly having fun... not just trying to get through one more song! Whether or not this song is quite as well written as her other tracks, who cares? Certainly not this reviewer! This radio-friendly song sure can get you up to dance, singing jubilantly to the catchy chorus "Hey You, I'm making an offer that no one would/Dare to refuse." So when you listen to this song, let her "be your muse" and have fun!
Ahh. "Timor." The most controversial (or sencond most after "How Do You Do") song in the album. Yet all it does is speak truth. Why, I ask, is it wrong to try to raise awareness about a country that has been abandoned? Why has the song been renamed in some places to "It's Alright?" No reason is good enough. If the song offends you--skip it. Though I certainly would advice you to do otherwise. The highlight song in the album is not only the best lyrically, but a spectacular dance song! (Nice way to hide the lyrics Shakira--hide it in awesome music...) The choir sings "How about the people who don't/Matter anymore?" and that, solely that, is enough to make you wonder, "am I doing enough to help these people?" And I'm sure that's what Shakira wanted you to ask yourself. So give the song a try.
"I never really knew/That she could dance like this..."
"Baila en la calle, de noche/Baila en la calle, de dia..."
"Mira en Barranquilla se baila asi/Si!"
Sound familiar? Of course it does! It's the amazing "Hips Don't Lie" (well, hips don't talk in the first place...) but by golly it truly is a hip-shaker. In between all the trumpets, beats, and hips is a message--let refugees do their thing! Let them dance, it's a "musical transaction!" Why does the CIA want to watch them? Surely it's not because they are refugees, it's because of their amazing music... so Colombians, Haitians--welcome!
The bonus tracks in the album sound anything but original--but that's why they are just bonus. The "Don't Bother" remix has a catchy beat, while "Sera, Sera" is only the translation of "Hips Don't Lie" (but the English version is oh so much better!). "La Tortura" in its "alternate version" only translates two lines in the chorus, yet it is barely understandable. All in all, they are respectable remixes, so they are definitely worth listening to.
In fact, the whole album is worth listening to. It really is hard to beat the beauty of this album. It shines.
It is the best album by Shakira, too. And that is saying a lot! This reloaded version is much more fulfilling than it's less-tracked predecessor. It simply is magnificent work, pop music at its best.
So go on and buy it, download it, or borrow it (I recommend buying it--you'll want to hear it more than once... so definitely don't borrow it). Get your hands on it. Open the CD case. Take out the lyric book, put the CD in your CD player (if you still have one) and drift off to Shakiraworld. You won't want to come back.