Oral Fixation, Vol. 2

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Shakira’s English-language companion to June’s Fijación Oral definitely connects to that album musically. The Gustavo Cerati duet “Day and the Time” is simply Fijación’s “Dia Especial” sung in ingles, and Oral Fixation is her usual mix of heartfelt pop and ambitious balladry, Latin flourish, and rock and dance texture held together with throaty vocals and striking lyrical allusions. “I’d like to be the owner of the zipper on your jeans,” she cries in the sleek, wanting first single “Don’t Bother.” But beyond her ability to wow bilingually is Shakira’s ambition to make pop records like they used to be, or always should have been. Fixation’s variety and left-field choices link it to Like a Prayer, Madonna’s 1989 masterpiece of concept and craft. Opener “How Do You Do” layers swirling pop and imagistic lyrics over a choir chanting the Lord’s Prayer; “Illegal” is its “Underneath Your Clothes”; a string section keens in “Your Embrace”; and “Something” is the English version of Fijación’s most beautiful song, “En Tus Pupilas.” Shakira, like Madonna, can dance for inspiration. But she also pauses for considerations of the heart, and is never afraid to link religion with love or sex. It’s all fervor, after all.

Johnny Loftus writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to letters@metrotimes.com.

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