Booty Bends the Truth
Colombian beauty Shakiraâ€šÃ„Ã´s double volume of songs is split in more ways than one. The first album, Fijacion Oral Vol. 1, is sung entirely in Spanish whereas Oral Fixation Vol. 2 comes in English. While Shakiraâ€šÃ„Ã´s famously breathy lyrics and Kate Bush-esque squeals are evident on both, she also wavers from insincere to poignant in equal doses. The weakest moments are when Shakira rams counterfeit emotion into her voice, not unlike the false notes evident when a child forces a crying fit. On Volume 2â€šÃ„Ã´s â€šÃ„ÃºDonâ€šÃ„Ã´t Bother,â€šÃ„Ã¹ the unconvincing moments are not for lack of talent, but still fall flat.
Shakira does manage to move smoothly between languages as well as genres â€šÃ„Ã® everything from rock to electronic to adult contemporary is represented on both volumes. Some sounds are better served than others; the intro to Vol. 1â€šÃ„Ã´s â€šÃ„ÃºLa Paredâ€šÃ„Ã¹ sounds straight from a struggling Cars tribute band.
Itâ€šÃ„Ã´s the basic pop that serves Shakira best â€šÃ„Ã® at least when the lyrics are good. On Vol. 1â€šÃ„Ã´s â€šÃ„ÃºLa Torturaâ€šÃ„Ã¹ Alejandro Sanz helps pull together a great dance song while conveying the bittersweet torture of longing.
Shakiraâ€šÃ„Ã´s fondness for rock helps her avoid syrupy numbers. On her Vol. 2 collaboration with Santana, â€šÃ„ÃºIllegal,â€šÃ„Ã¹ she sings â€šÃ„ÃºYou donâ€šÃ„Ã´t even know the meaning of the words â€šÃ„Ã²Iâ€šÃ„Ã´m Sorryâ€šÃ„Ã´/You said you would love me until you died/As far as I know youâ€šÃ„Ã´re still alive/Baby you donâ€šÃ„Ã´t even know the meaning of the words â€šÃ„Ã²Iâ€šÃ„Ã´m Sorryâ€šÃ„Ã´/Iâ€šÃ„Ã´m starting to believe/It should be illegal to deceive/A womanâ€šÃ„Ã´s heart.â€šÃ„Ã¹
The albums are surprisingly heavy on heartache and betrayal considering how open Shakira is about being happily coupled up. But she sings convincingly on topics with which nearly all listeners will identify, and not just the sad ones. Vol. 2â€šÃ„Ã´s â€šÃ„ÃºHey Youâ€šÃ„Ã¹ features Shakira singing to the object of her desire, asking permission to play his muse for the night. She commands â€šÃ„ÃºDonâ€šÃ„Ã´t be so arrogant/Canâ€šÃ„Ã´t you see Iâ€šÃ„Ã´m falling for you?/Hey you/Iâ€šÃ„Ã´m making an offer that no one would refuse.â€šÃ„Ã¹
Like many of her pop counterparts, Shakira can count on the support of her true blue fans. Those listeners new to this siren should preview tracks individually before committing to either volume of Oral Fixation. Donâ€šÃ„Ã´t be afraid to start with the ones in a language other than your own.