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Shakira

Shakira Times 2

ShakiraLeave it to Shakira to defy all the rules. Typically, a Latin crossover act with an album in English will promote it to English-speaking and Latin fans. For Spanish-language albums, promotion is concentrated on the act's Latin fan base, wherever it may be.

But not Shakira. "Fijación Oral, Volumen 1," due this week via Epic, is her first studio album in nearly four years. It is an all-Spanish album whose first single, "La Tortura," had its premiere on MTV. It was the first time the channel added a Spanish-only video -- with no English counterpart. MTV also aired a "Making the Video" program in Spanish with subtitles during prime time -- another first.

Indeed, there is no precedent for "Fijación Oral." The album, the follow-up to Shakira's English-language debut, the multiplatinum "Laundry Service," is the first half of a two-part, bilingual project. The second part, "Oral Fixation, Part Two," is completely in English and will be released this fall, also on Epic. Unlike other releases by crossover acts, the two albums do not have any songs in common.

From 60 songs, many of which she wrote with longtime collaborators like Lester Mendez and Luis Fernando Ochoa, Shakira whittled down the list to 10 in each language. She then proposed a stylistically eclectic two-album project.

"I don't believe very much in the musical unity of albums," Shakira says. "I don't think an album needs to have one general concept. I think albums have to be the spontaneous expression of an artist. That's why I took such a long time to work on these songs. And so many things happened in that time, that the first song I wrote has nothing to do with the last."