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27 novembre 2005

Shakira's world

Shakira's world

In the languages she speaks and the melting-pot music she makes, the pop star personifies what it means to go global.


Oral Fixation's first song, "How Do You Do," is directed at the Almighty, but it's more accusatory than reverential. "How many people die and hurt in your name?" the Catholic-schooled singer asks. "Hey, does that make you proud, or does it bring you shame?"

The first single, "Don't Bother," sends the message that hell hath no fury like Shakira scorned. Feeling threatened by a too-perfect rival who is "fat free" and "practices tai chi," she lashes back in a tart, Alanis Morissette voice. In the video she hits her wayward lover where it hurts: She drives his car to the dump and has it crushed.

Oral Fixation is full of songs of self-examination, too. The cloying, middle-of-the-road ballad "Your Embrace" wonders,
"What's the use of a 24-inch waist if you don't touch me?"

On "Costume Makes the Clown" she marries stadium-rock crunch, a hooky chorus dressed up with strings, and lyrics about the unreality of her own image: "Told you I felt lucky with my humble breasts / Well I don't." She adds:
"I'm not a virgin, but I'm not the whore you think / And I don't always smell like strawberries and cream."

And for the album closer, "East Timor," Shakira takes a bubbling dance groove based on the Peter Gabriel song of that name to criticize her own self-absorption: "It's OK if the planet splits in three," she sings, sarcastically.
" 'Cause I'll keep selling records, and you've got your MTV."

Shakira may be standing on top of the world, but she's not about to pretend that everything's right with it.

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