Wednesday, February 13, 2002

Laundry Service

Posted By on Wed, Feb 13, 2002 at 12:00 AM

From Menudo to Ricky Martin, “prefab” Latin pop stars have traditionally been attacked on two fronts: Not only have these South-of-the-border hit-makers supposedly been “manufactured” for American ears, they’ve also supposedly betrayed something about their own heritage — something (to use the academic parlance) authentically Latin. Predictably enough, Shakira — a 24-year-old Colombian with Lebanese roots — has been dismissed by hordes of Yankee writers as another purveyor of Anglicized Latin tripe, the carefully assembled product of “a battalion of producers and songwriters,” as Rolling Stone put it.

Laundry Service, Shakira’s first English-language album, follows a trio of million-sellers in her native tongue, but almost nothing about it suggests she’s been made over too heavily for the Anglo market. Not only do nonglitzy arrangements abound, she penned all of the lyrics (clunky metaphors and all) in her newly learned English, and her idiosyncratic and arguably noncommercial voice rules the roost.

The voice, in fact, is a beast of its own. At times it’s powerful and evocative, at others it’s downright annoying, full of weird ticks and overblown Alanis-like warbling. Some of Laundry Service, likewise, bears its cross-continental drift a little awkwardly: A couple of the songs, including “Whenever, Wherever” and “Objection,” her very own “Livin’ La Vida Loca,” suggest tinges of the kind of ersatz “Latin” flavor adult-contemporary artists have been drawing on for years.

Overall, though, Laundry Service is novel if not downright original — a smart blend of rock-en-Español punch and hooky, grown-up girl-pop.

Full-bodied and potent as they are, even the ballads pulse and shimmer with aplomb. Considering that this is a set of love songs and only love songs, Shakira could’ve been turned into a libidinous Latin pop android. Instead, she manages to show us both an album and a persona more interesting than just about any American songstress has delivered in recent months. Kudos, muchacha.

E-mail Christian Hoard at letters@metrotimes.com.

Tags:

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at letters@metrotimes.com.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

More by Christian Hoard

Read the Digital Print Issue

November 24, 2021

View more issues

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit

© 2021 Detroit Metro Times - Contact Us

Website powered by Foundation