Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Shakira: Shakira [RCA, 2014]
This album finally made me its own in a Puerto Rican traffic jam, where I felt compelled to pull Tom Zé out of the slot because I needed a bigger lift. The Latin setting fed this decision. But Zé is no gringo, and the hottest Latin track here, including the two in Spanish at the end, is the Dr. Luke confection that climaxes the four-song takeoff I was craving--a musical jam that, as I'd hoped, brightened my mood until well after the traffic jam had dissolved. Later Shakira gets more pensive, as is her warbling wont. But right up to "Loco Por Ti" she works well-meaning variations on her special brand of chipper sentimentality--seldom deep, but so useful in getting one through life's smaller crises. A-