Shakira
Oral Fixation Vol. 1


4.5
superb

Review

by Ruan Carlo USER (6 Reviews)
February 5th, 2013 | 20 replies | 2,693 views


Release Date: 2005 | Tracklist

Review Summary: All the elements that make a pop album stand out are present here.

Musical breakthroughs. Almost every artist or band likes to do one of those at one point in their careers. Releasing an album that sounds different from previous works is praiseworthy. Usually, the change is for the better. But, “breakthrough” is a strong word: it doesn’t necessarily have to be a revolution, it just has to shake things up a little bit. When you think of how repetitive and standardized pop music can be at times, then that necessity is even more apparent for the genre. Saying that 2001’s Laundry Service filled that role for Shakira would be the obvious answer. After all, that was when the red-haired Colombian rocker dyed her hair blonde, put her guitar aside, learned a new language and conquered the world with the mega hit “Whenever, Wherever”. Wrong. Of course, there were visual changes, but musicallly, there weren’t any. It was a great set of enjoyable pop/rock songs exactly like 1996’s Pies Descalzos and 1998’s ¿Dónde Están los Ladrones? had been.

Perhaps I’m saying that because I’m not from a Spanish- or English-speaking country. That’s sort of an advantage, because, since both sound foreign to me, I can listen to her music independently from the background. Meaning that the hair color doesn’t matter, the language doesn’t matter, the hip-shaking or not-hip-shaking don’t matter, only the music does. And Laundry Service is so similar to her previous Spanish works (which is not at all a bad thing, by the way) that it’s difficult to understand why so many see an abyss dividing them. This album is where the change really resides. This album was Shakira’s breakthrough. This post-stardom work is when she truly achieved musical prowess. Expanding upon her Latin roots and carefully incorporating new elements, it’s the highlight of her career.

Even the most commercial song in the album, “La Tortura”, is noticeably different from previous singles. It sounds very Latin, and yet synthesizers are heard at one point, giving it a global tone. In fact, throughout the album, Shakira puts in a little bit of everything. There’s your classic love song (“D*a de Enero”), your classic heartbreak song (“No”) and there are the not so classic “Lo Imprescindible” and “Obtener Un S*”. The former brings in industrial (yes, industrial) noises which make a triumphant entrance, right before collapsing and giving way to a heartbreaking chorus. The latter is a spectacular bossa nova track, coupled with a great vocal performance.

Oh, her vocal performance. It’s always been one of her signatures, but here she improved a lot. Perhaps the combination of this being, like I said, a post-stardom work, and the fact that it is in Spanish (both of which give her freedom to experiment, leaving all the “commercial” responsibility for the English album) made Shakira really take her voice to levels of beauty she hadn’t reached before. Whether she wants to sound romantic, sexy, dark, sassy or sweet, her voice keeps up with it. In the superb track “No”, the verse and the chorus alike contain much sadness, while the low notes she sings have a devastating effect. In “D*a de Enero”, it’s honest, pure love in its most beautiful form that comes out of the speakers, while “La Pared” has a more dangerous side of love, an overly dependent and desperate one. Shakira’s voice carries all those emotions with ease.

There’s also the lyrics. Her songwriting has always been a combination of funny lines and heartwarming feelings. After Laundry Service brought in a naïve sensuality, it became something really unique in pop music. This album is no exception, as its lyrics contain all those elements. “Escondite Inglés” is a great example: “Count from one to ten / And go hide in a place where you can see me / That’s how I play hide and seek”. It’s sexy, but almost unawarely so. The fun is present in lines like “I got tired of kissing frogs in vain... But I never found the charming prince”. Try not to laugh or at least smile.

Contemporary pop music doesn’t really have anyone else like Shakira. She’s unique, not because of her exotic origins (she was born in Colombia, but her family is from Lebanon) but simply because of her music. The language is irrelevant: she is versatile and, most importantly, talented enough to sound great anyway. With this album, her finest, she establishes herself as one of the best pop singers in the world, arguably the best. Whether it’s “fijación oral” or “oral fixation” or whatever, I could listen to many more volumes of this.



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user ratings (37)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
RuanCSC
February 5th 2013



124 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

What the hell happened to some of the accents?

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
February 5th 2013



16083 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Hmm, that is strange since accents usually work. Let me see if it happens on a review for me.

slipnslide
February 5th 2013



2640 Comments


Shakira is still alive?
Edit:thought this was a new album lol

(thx)

Chortles
February 5th 2013



17944 Comments


shakira is my god

RuanCSC
February 5th 2013



124 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It's weird because all the accents in the letters O and E worked. ("fijación", "inglés") Only the ones on the letter I didn't. ("día")

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
February 5th 2013



16083 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

she just had a baby

RuanCSC
February 5th 2013



124 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah, she's alive. Just had a baby and stuff.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
February 5th 2013



16083 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

there's also a sex tape floating around of her supposedly, just waiting to surface.

omnipanzer
February 5th 2013



21442 Comments


"By the way, what the hell happened to some of the accents?"

I have this problem whenever I write in excel and then copy and paste into Sputnik.

Digging: The Ettes - Shake the Dust

RuanCSC
February 5th 2013



124 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah, I wrote the review in Microsoft Word then pasted it. But I did edit the review and retype the accents. It stayed the same.

LifeAsAChipmunk
February 5th 2013



4854 Comments


lol that band profile pic

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
February 5th 2013



3366 Comments


Wow, I never thought Shakira would have such high ratings on Sputnik.

Digging: Anberlin - Lowborn

RuanCSC
February 5th 2013



124 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah, the staff, the contributors, etc. rated her albums 3, 3.5, 4...

She's pretty good. Her records are a lot more enjoyable than the average pop albums.

omnipanzer
February 5th 2013



21442 Comments


"Yeah, I wrote the review in Microsoft Word then pasted it. But I did edit the review and retype the accents. It stayed the same."

Meant Word sorry.

breakingthefragile
February 5th 2013



2955 Comments


I wouldn't even really call her music pop. It's more like Latin dance with influences from a lot of world music.

Digging: The Blood of Heroes - The Blood Of Heroes

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
February 5th 2013



16083 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

she is a pop artist, she just incorporates a lot of different influences into her music

RuanCSC
February 5th 2013



124 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

What you guys think of my review?

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
February 5th 2013



16083 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

oh I didnt read it

RuanCSC
February 5th 2013



124 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

HAHA
Funniest comeback ever.

Asdfp277
February 5th 2013



1060 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I love "No" so much.



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