Release date: November 2001
Laundry Service (Servicio De Lavandería in Spanish-speaking territories) is the debut English breakthrough studio album by Colombian singer-songwriter Shakira, released on November 13, 2001 by Epic Records. All the songs on the album except Eyes Like Yours (which is a translation of Shakira's trademark Ojos Así) are original and were fully or partly composed by Shakira. It also contains four songs in Spanish. Shakira recorded this album during almost two years in Uruguay and the Bahamas.
After the success of the Dónde Están los Ladrones? and MTV Unplugged albums, Shakira decided to begin working on a crossover album to break into the English market in 2000. Laundry Service was originally designed to include older songs by advice of Gloria Estefan, the wife of the executive producer of the album Emilio Estefan, Jr.. However, Shakira later decided against using translations of older songs for the album and worked for over a year on new material for the album.
Just months after its announcement, the album was mainly produced by Shakira herself, Tim Mitchell and Lester Mendez who produced a bulk of tracks on the album. Shakira recorded the album in in Miami, Florida and Nassau, Bahamas at the Compass Point Studios. She worked with several other notable producers: Glen Ballard and Luis F. Ochoa. The album has yielded eight singles: "Whenever, Wherever", "Suerte (Whenever, Wherever)", "Te Dejo Madrid", "Underneath Your Clothes", "Objection (Tango)", "Te Aviso, Te Anuncio (Tango)", "The One", and "Que Me Quedes Tú". "Fool" was released as a single only in Brazil, and "Poem To A Horse" which was released as the promo-single from her 2004 tour album Live & Off the Record.
Musically the album is a fusion of many different genres and cultures. Every song, except of another language versions, is composed in completely different style. The title "Laundry Service" means when people wash all the mud from their body, the same thing can be said for the soul, the songs are like a soap for washing off negative energy, calling the album as the soul cleaner. Heavily influenced by South American culture, britpop and American rock and roll, the album gained generally positive reviews despite of some negative calls from Latin fans for seemingly abandoning her folk and rock roots in favor of contemporary American pop music. This album won dozens of awards worldwide, including the Latin Grammy Award in the category of Best Short Form Music Video.
Release and commercial performance
The album reached the top three of the charts in both the United States and United Kingdom (after the re-release, it reached #2 in UK). Whenever, Wherever (and its Spanish counterpart Suerte), the first single from the album, was first heard in Colombia and the United States in late August 2001 and immediately became number one. Subsequently, the single was climbing the tops of charts in more than 30 countries during the period of over 6 months, eventually becoming the best selling single of 2002 worldwide. Shakira started the promotion in Colombia and Spain in October 2001 and then returned to the US for the American album release (November 13, 2001). There are also another three international singles Underneath Your Clothes (U.S. #9), Objection (Tango) and The One, that finally helped to recognize Shakira as a mainstream artist. Freddy DeMann, who worked with Michael Jackson, Madonna and Alanis Morissette, handled the management of that era of Shakira's career and the promotion. For the first time she appeared in a number of American prime-time TV shows and open-air concerts and continued the promotion in Europe, South America and Asia up to July 2002.
Shakira supported the album with the "Tour of the Mongoose" with the worldwide audience of over 1.2 million people. Laundry Service is Shakira's best selling album to date and has sold more than 13 million copies worldwide.
The album was released in Latin America as Servicio de Lavandería (the Spanish translation of the title), with the same tracks, but in a different order. Thus, "Objection (Tango)" was born, a song that documents Shakira's anger at a relationship in which her lover is unfaithful. It was Shakira's first song composed in English. All the songs on album are original, with the exception of "Eyes Like Yours", which is a translation of Shakira's Arabic-tinged 1999 worldwide hit Ojos Así. Although it is an English album, it did contain four Spanish tracks.
In 2002, Sony BMG stated the re-release of the album which was titled Laundry Service: Washed & Dried. It include three additional bonus tracks and a bonus DVD which include the "Objection (Tango)" performance from the MTV Video Music Awards, Behind-the-Scenes of the MTV's Making the Video and the music video.