Sony – 2002 – 49 minutes

The first thing that hits you is the production: she did it all herself. The second is that there are real musicians on the songs and not the usual bank of machines that dominate pop records. This may be Shakira's first English language album, but she's been churning them out for the Latin market since age 14 and 'Laundry Service' has the unmistakable sound of a wise-beyond-her-years artist trying to cover as many bases as possible.

There's disco ('Ready for the Good Times'), Alanis-lite introspection ('The One', 'Fool') and lighter ballads ('Underneath Your Clothes'), all rendered listenable by the fact that she hasn't been produced to within an inch or her hairdo and the fact that it seems she's not so much after J-Lo's crown as trying to create her own empire.

There might be nothing quite so radio-hugging as 'Wherever, Whenever' on offer here, but expect Unplugged, Christmas and Greatest Hits albums in the years ahead.

Harry Guerin

Tracklisting: Objection (Tango) - Underneath Your Clothes - Whenever, Wherever - Rules - The One - Ready for the Good Times - Fool - Te Dejo Madrid - Poem to a Horse - Que Me Quedes Tu - Eyes Like Yours (Ojos Asi) - Suerte (Whenever, Wherever) - Te Aviso, Te Anuncio (Tango)