Things could be a lot worse for Shakira, seeing as she's a smoking-hot, sweet-natured, crazy-successful, one-woman foreign-exchange program whose international fan base includes fellow Colombian Gabriel García Márquez. It ain't such a bad gig, even if the veracity of her lower anatomy will always be in question, and like it or not, a previous megahit ensures that her surname will usually be doubled when mentioned in casual conversation. Like "Roxanne, Roxanne." But in Spanish.
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Perhaps it's the public's fascination with that most excellent shimmy-shimmy-ya — the flashpoint of "Hips Don't Lie," her infectious and inescapable smash 2007 collaboration with Wyclef Jean — that explains why, on Shakira's third English-language CD, she's put most of her usual undulating, polyglobal mishmash on the back burner. Instead, She Wolf focuses on a (mostly) fast-forward, sparkly, synthy, kitschy, electric bubblegum rush of Euro-disco, sprinkled with just enough klezmer clarinets, grinding boom-bap, and surly thrash guitar to keep things interesting. As if the biggest (if not blondest) Colombian export since — well, let's not even go there — has ever been anything less-than-fascinating. She could never be merely another generic pop princess, if only thanks to her voice, as pretty as it is quirky, as flirty as it is meaty. Death of Auto-Tune? This chick's got a vibrato that could blow up a mixing board.