Recording information: Sombrero Studios, El Paso, TX.
By the time 2001's Laundry Service introduced Shakira's distinct voice, inventive songwriting, and mélange of influences to America, she was already a superstar, both in her native Colombia and throughout much of the world. However, this tribute ignores classic Shakira material like her 1996 breakthrough, Pies Descalzos, or 1998's Donde Estan los Ladrones, focusing exclusively on tracks from her English-language debut. As performed by an unknown studio group named Chicas Caliente, the songs don't resound with the same fervor. While the lead vocalist possesses a strong voice, she can't match Shakira's fluid, barely restrained siren. And though this collection replicates the original's arrangements with some success, it amounts to little more than an eager album of covers that only illustrate how unique Shakira's music actually is. ~ Johnny Loftus