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.
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.