Shakira
Oral Fixation Volume 2
(Epic)
Perhaps the most classically beautiful woman to sing this well since Lena Horne, the Colombian siren Shakira presents the Anglo sequel to Fijacion Oral, with just a couple of songs in common. Latin flourishes are held in check to the extent that it’s a relief when they are embraced on “Animal World.” She’s definitely not the new Charo. The biggest Northern influence appears to be Ani DiFranco, though that yowl is just an aspect of her sonic palette. The swerves and shifts of a composition like “Costume Makes the Clown” suggest she’s no stranger to King Crimson. “Timor” has danceable politics, addressing her own role as a diversion from bigger issues. Shakira takes preconceptions and twists them with admirable pluck. A heartening pop surprise.
—Doug Taylor

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