Had Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll (yeah, truncating it, Cher/Madonna-style, was probably a good idea) — the 29-year-old, Colombian-born singer who's been making albums (mostly sung in Spanish) since she was 15 — broken through in the U.S. at the height of the late '90s, Ricky Martin-led Latin-pop explosion, she'd be . . . well, she'd probably be as washed up as Ricky Martin is these days. Instead, she waited until the fad chilled out a bit, then wrote and recorded her first primarily English-language album, 2001's Laundry Service, which went multi-platinum, spawned the ubiquitous hit "Underneath Your Clothes," and laid the foundation for what's turned out to be a successful and lasting presence in America. Rockists dig Shakira for writing her own songs and occasionally incorporating guitars that both hit hard and gently weep; popists dig her for writing glossy, lascivious, of-the-moment radio candy like her current smash hit, "Hips Don't Lie" (a collaboration with Wyclef Jean). And based on accounts from the road, nearly everyone digs the hip-shaking, career-spanning spectacle that is her live show.


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