Sun, Nov 20, 2005 - Page 18 News List

Shakira: Her hips don't lie

The sultry Latina singer with the big pelvic movements has a new album that owes a debt to the Bible

NY TIMES NEWS SERVICE , LONDON

On the cover of her new album, Oral Fixation, Vol. 2, the Colombian pop singer and songwriter Shakira plays Eve, clothed only in strategic leaves. Perched next to her in a tree is a baby girl, reaching for the apple Shakira holds in her hand.

For obvious reasons, it's eye-catching, as was the cover of the Spanish-language companion album Shakira released in June, Fijacion Oral, Vol. 1, which showed her fully dressed and holding the same baby to her breast.

Although it had been four years since her previous album, Fijacion Oral, Vol. 1 zoomed to No. 4 on the Billboard pop charts.

As an attention-getter, a pop star showing skin needs no further justification. Yet Shakira, 28, has other ideas about her latest chosen image. "I want to attribute to Eve one more reason to bite the forbidden fruit, and that would be her oral fixation," she said in an interview. "I've always felt that I've been a very oral person. It's my biggest source of pleasure."

"From a psychoanalytical point of view, we start discovering the world through our mouths in the very first stage of our lives, when we're just born," she continued. "The first album cover is more Freudian, and the second one more resembles Jung, because Eve is a universal archetype. I tried to keep a unity between the two album covers, and I chose to use some Renaissance iconography. Mother and child and original sin are recurrent concepts of the Renaissance period, and I wanted the historical character."

Psychoanalysis, biblical revisionism, Renaissance paintings. Not to mention DNA-level multiculturalism, torrid dance moves and an ear for rhythms and hooks from all over. Fulfilling the basic needs of current pop -- a catchy song, a pretty face -- doesn't begin to match Shakira's gleeful ambitions. She is pop's 21st-century Latina bombshell, a sweetly upbeat face of globalization, and then some.

"I'm not the one who's causing this to happen," she said. "I'm just a consequence of the great musical momentum and the great changes we are going through in the world."

And she just might seduce the world. Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the Nobel Prize-winning novelist from Colombia, wrote, "She has invented her own brand of innocent sensuality." Chatting over Indian samosas and chicken tikka, she seems candid, confident, light-hearted and completely disarming.

In her new single, Don't Bother, Shakira sings about being rejected in favor of a woman who's tall and "fat-free," but insists she'll get over it. The video clip, after a flashback of lovemaking in the shower, shows her taking vengeance: She has the man's car crushed.

"Did it hurt?" she said, laughing, curious about a male viewer's reaction. "A man's car is like an extension of their ego and their manhood. I thought this would be a video that would make women say, `Yeah, yeah!' and it would make men feel" -- she gave a pained sound: "Ohh!" She giggled.

Songs and videos "exorcise the bad things that could happen to your relationship," she said. "Inside me there's a real jealous beast I'm trying to tame."

"I think art, music should be sensual," she added. "Not necessarily sexual. I think that's a huge difference between that N and that X. It's more than the 11 letters of difference. Sensual is everything that refers to the delight of the senses. And that's what artists do, is stimulate the senses in any possible way. I don't think I have to hang myself a little sign that says, `Hey, I'm sexy,' and then take it off and now say, `Hey, now I'm serious.' I can just fluctuate and oscillate from one side to the other whenever my instincts tell me to."

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