808s / The World's Greatest Hits

The World’s Greatest Hits: Laundry Service – Shakira

Laundry Service  – Shakira – 2001

Claimed Sales: 13m

First listen?: Yes

Format Listened?: Apple Music

Shakira was already well established as one of Latin music’s brightest stars by the time that her first English language single Whenever Wherever was released. She had won a Grammy award, scored a series of #1 Latin hits and was on the verge of releasing her 3rd studio album. It sets Laundry Service apart as a breakthrough album, as Shakira was already full of the confidence required to deliver such a monumental ‘first impression’ on the pop charts. What a way to do it with Whenever Wherever though, a song that from it’s opening guitar riff to the now iconic ‘Awoooohh’ sound, it’s a pan pipes filled mega banger that still sounds huge today. It’s a jet-setting album with the South American style of Whenever Wherever and standout Objection (Tango) turning into the Arabian bounce of Eyes Like Yours or the soft southern country rock of Fool, it’s all over the place. Underneath Your Clothes recalls both the melody of Eternal Flame and the production style of late Beatles songs, while Ready For The Good Times sounds like a dance floor disco anthem. Equal parts Gloria Estefan, Alanis Morissette and Shania Twain it’s difficult to know what Shakira is going be delivering next. What does remain consistent is this intriguing and completely unique quality she has to her voice. Full of vibrato and all but impossible to understand in a language she’s only just started to sing in, she has such an obvious star quality that it makes even the most boring song here sound exciting. The moments where everything clicks into place on the biggest hits are where the album truly shines, but Laundry Service never manage to sound consistent at all. If she wasn’t such an intriguing vocalist and performer it would fall flat, but there’s just enough here to keep the listener engaged with one of the most exciting performers of the decade.

Rating: 6/10

Will I listen again?: Probably not, though I will return to my Shakira Greatest Hits playlist.

Best Track: Undoubtedly Whenever Wherever, any song where Shakira compares her ‘small and humble’ breasts to mountains is a 10/10 in my eyes.

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