Shakira’s ‘Fijación Oral, Vol. 1’ Turns 15

Mike Wass | June 3, 2020 1:17 pm
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How do you follow up one of the most successful crossovers of all time? If you’re Shakira, you take your sweet time recording more than 60 songs and then roll out two massively-successful albums in the space of six months. That’s the gamble Colombia’s greatest export took in 2005. After becoming a global superstar on the back of 2001’s Laundry Service, the obvious move would be releasing another English-language opus. But Shakira has never played it safe. Instead, she returned — on this day in 2005 — with a Spanish-language record called Fijación Oral, Vol. 1.

And, as has happened so many times in her career, the gamble paid off. Following Laundry Service with a Latin-Pop project was a statement. Namely, that she had no intention of turning her back on her roots. Shakira was determined to juggle superstardom in two languages — and proved, once and for all, that it was possible with Fijación Oral, Vol. 1 and its English-language bookend, Oral Fixation, Vol. 2. The former, in particular, set all kinds of records upon release. It was (until recently) the highest-charting Spanish album on the Billboard 200 and ranked as the highest-selling Latin-Pop album of the ’00s.

It certainly helped that Shakira launched Fijación Oral, Vol. 1 with a certified smash. “La Tortura,” a collaboration with Alejandro Sanz, broke new ground by climbing to number 23 on the Billboard Hot 100. “La Tortura” also spent 25 non-consecutive weeks at number one on Billboard’s Hot Latin Tracks — a record that was held until 2014. The sexy, reggaeton-tinged anthem went on to crack the top 10 in most European and Latin American territories, selling a staggering 12 million copies around the world. It has been recognized as the best-selling Spanish-language song of all time.

While the album is perhaps best remembered for “La Tortura” (and the striking artwork, which was inspired by Eve in the garden of Eden), the real joy of Fijación Oral, Vol. 1 is the contemplative, largely rock-based singles that followed and the dreamy album tracks. “No,” a collaboration with Gustavo Cerati, is an agonizing breakup ballad, “Día De Enero” charms in a way that few love songs manage and “Día Especial” (later released in English on Vol. 2) ranks as one of Shakira’s best non-singles.

And then there’s the iconic “Las De La Intuición.” The closest thing to a dance track on the album was released as the fourth and final single, but was immediately embraced by the LGBTQ+ community and still gets played in clubs today. It was particularly popular in Spain, becoming the highest-selling download of 2007 — in part, thanks to an English version called “Pure Intuition” that also charted across Europe. Fijación Oral, Vol. 1 remains a landmark achievement that still sounds every bit as mesmerizing today as it did upon release in 2005.

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