Shakira is one of the most notable singer-songwriters of modern times. She has earned a reputation for being very versatile when it comes to her music. Something that is perhaps unsurprising considering that Shakira has become very successful in both English-language and Spanish-language markets.
Magia is Shakira’s debut album. For context, it came out in 1991, meaning that it came out when she was still a teenager. As such, Magia is very unpolished when compared with Shakira’s later releases, which explains why it sold something like 1,000 to 1,200 copies.
On the whole, Magia didn’t sell very well. Still, its songs saw a fair amount of radio play, so there was still hope that its successor Peligro would perform better. Unfortunately, Shakira apparently had a very rough time making the album, so much so that it resulted in a work that didn’t fit her very well. In fact, it should be mentioned that she once refused to allow the re-release of either one of these two albums on the basis of their shared “immaturity.” Something that says much about them.
Shakira’s self-titled album is a much more recent release that came out in 2014. On the whole, it met with a positive response. However, there were those who thought that its efforts at appealing to English speakers were an example of Shakira Americanizing her sound. Whatever the case, while this self-titled album wasn’t bad, it didn’t manage to hit a lot of heights either.
8. She Wolf
She Wolf earns points for being more innovative than a lot of its counterparts. In particular, interested individuals might remember the electronic influence on the album. After all, She Wolf is often remembered because of the song of the same name, which had something of a disco feel to it. Besides that, people might remember the not particularly convincing but nonetheless relatively memorable howling on the song.
7. Oral Fixation, Vol. 2
Based on the name, it should come as no surprise to learn that Oral Fixation, Vol. 2 is the second of a paired release. However, there aren’t a lot of people who would mistake it for its companion, seeing as how its name is in English while its companion’s name is in Spanish. This makes sense because it focuses on English songs while its companion focuses on Spanish songs. In any case, Oral Fixation, Vol. 2 featured a fair amount of experimentation while still making it work. This can be seen in how it contains “Hips Don’t Lie,” which remains one of Shakira’s best-known songs in the English-speaking world.
6. El Dorado
El Dorado is named for a myth that fascinated the Spanish in the early modern era. In short, it started out with the real practice of the rulers of the Muisca covering themselves in gold dust before washing themselves clean in Lake Guatavita. Soon enough, the story of a golden man turned into the story of a golden city, then the story of a golden kingdom, and then the story of a golden empire. Something that caused more than one Spanish expedition to set out into the wilderness in a futile search. Fortunately, El Dorado the album proved to be much more rewarding than El Dorado the myth. It isn’t as creative as it could be, but it possesses a mature sound that is very pleasant to the ears.
5. Pies Descalzos
As mentioned earlier, Shakira’s first two albums weren’t particularly impressive. However, her record contract was for not one, not two, but three albums, so she got one more chance to turn things around. The result was Pies Descalzos, which received so much critical and commercial success that it is considered to be Shakira’s breakthrough album. For proof, look no further than the fact that it sold more than one million albums in her native Colombia, which is extra-notable because said country has a smaller population and thus a smaller market. It is interesting to note that Pies Descalzos had a fair amount of success in the United States as well as other countries, which presumably played a part in Shakira’s eventual decision to target those markets as well.
4. Fijacion Oral, Vol. 1
Shakira’s first English album was Laundry Service. After that, she decided to release a couple of paired albums, with the first one being another Spanish album and the second one being another English album. By this point, chances are good that interested individuals can guess that the first album was Fijacion Oral, Vol. 1, which would be the counterpart to Oral Fixation, Vol. 2. Regardless, it proved to be an improvement upon Shakira’s previous releases. Something that contributed a great deal to its success. In fact, “La Tortura” from the album even managed to hit the Billboard Hot 100, which is rather unusual for a non-English song.
3. Sale el Sol
Sale el Sol came after She Wolf, thus making it Shakira’s ninth album. Music-wise, it is a return to Latin pop, which stood out because of its immediate predecessor’s electro pop sound. Sale el Sol didn’t hit the top of the charts in the United States. However, there is a reason that it became very successful in Europe as well as Latin America.
2. Donde Estan los Ladrones?
Donde Estan los Ladrones? is Shakira’s fourth album. It was a successful attempt at building upon the foundations laid out by Pies Descalzos. For proof, look no further than the fact that it sold approximately 4 million copies on a worldwide basis. Something that wouldn’t have been possible if it hadn’t gone platinum in ten countries.
1. Laundry Service
Laundry Service isn’t necessarily Shakira’s best album from a purely musical perspective. However, it gets bonus points because of its creation process. In short, Shakira’s third and fourth albums had shown that she could succeed in the U.S. market. Still, Gloria Estefan believed that she possessed the potential to crossover into the English-language pop market as well. Understandably, Shakira was initially reluctant, but when she decided to give this a go, she actually went out of her way to master English so that she could write her own material. Judging by the results, she succeeded beyond expectations because Laundry Service went on to become one of the best-selling albums of the 21st century.