Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Shakira: Laundry Service [Epic, 2001]
Vulgar, confident, full of fun, this is the Cher album Cher never made--must be that Middle Eastern blood. Christian Middle East it may be (Cher's Armenian, Shakira Lebanese), but the intensity of the vibrato is more Islamic than Iberian. On the other hand, the stylistic appetite of this Colombian superstar is pure rock en Espaņol--nothing like Andean-where-she's-Caribbean panpipes for a soupįon of inauthentic authenticity. How freely she deploys her freshly mastered English--the corners the Anglo-Saxon consonants put on her Latin gush, the slightly misbegotten metaphors, the awkward, carnal, unhesitatingly female chauvinist "Underneath your clothes/There's an endless story/There's the man I chose/There's my territory." And as you might expect, her voice swallows contradictions as easily as it switches timbres. A-