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Nelly Furtado

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    Nelly Furtado

    Whoa, Nelly( 2000 )
    Hey man / On the radio (remember the days) / Baby girl / Legend / I'm like a bird / Turn off the light / Trynna find a way / Party / Well well / My love grows deeper (part 1) / I will make u cry / Scared of you / Oude estas

    We open with 'Hey Man' and it's not overproduced, quite the opposite. That's the first pleasant surprise for an album of basically commercial music. The second nice thing is her voice. It's not conventionally beautiful, however it is very distinctive, yet manages to not be grating at all, to my ears at least. Going back to 'Hey Man', it features a lo fi sound, actually, a scratchy violin and is really rather good. 'St On The Radio' is ultra contemporary but her voice rides above it all. The sound is slightly exotic, programmed beats for sure but Spanish style guitar underneath it all. 'Baby Girl' is perhaps displaying a little too much 'teenage' sound for my liking. It's actually one of the rare occasions this album slips. 'Legend' sports a good vocal. 'I'm Like A Bird' is an omnipresent radio favourite and hardly needs any description at all. 'Turn Off The Light' - the other big radio hit is actually rather wonderful. It's quite rare in this day and age that such a good song is also such a popular one. The second half of this kicks off with 'Trynna Find A Way' which could also be a massive hit if released as a single. 'Party' - as its title indicates is lightweight, but yeah, it's fun.

    As far as the album as a whole is concerned, underneath the seemingly contemporary and 'like everybody else' type of songs, there is something else going on. She's a Canadian but has Portuguese roots. Perhaps that's something to do with it. The production and sound of the album displays contemporary and commercial sounds and styles but presents them in a slightly different way. It means you can come back to this record again and again. Moving on, 'Well Well' features effective programmed beats and again, is a catchy and enjoyable song. Undemanding perhaps, but we all need that from time to time. I listen to this record a lot actually. I'm almost surprised that I do. I do like her combination of different strands of music, hip hop, soul, pop, etc, etc and I do think she has something special with her voice.

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    Readers Comments

    Jason Motell JMOTELL@stny.rr.com
    Hate to say it, but I agree. She is talented and I hate myself for putting in this album, but hey!, good music is good music. "Hey Man" is pretty freaking good as is "Turn Off the Lights," and the lyrics, for a teenager, are steady throughout the album. I see a lot of potential as long as she steers clear of rap (Heard her on the remix of "Get Your Freak On"? It sounds pretty crap!). There are some misses mind you, but the good stuff is so good that this deserves an 8.

    Folklore 8 ( 2003 )
    One Trick Pony / Powerless / Explode / Try / Fresh Off The Boat / Forca / The Grass Is Green / Picture Perfect / Saturdays / Build You Up / Island Of Wonder

    The review that appears at the top of this page for her début was actually one of the very earliest I wrote for the site. I didn't realise Nelly had been away for so long, and until I sat down and listened properly to 'Folklore', hadn't realised that I'd missed her presence in the music scene. There's always so much going on in the music world, that if an artist takes a good three years plus between first and second albums, there's always the danger the public are going to forget about that artist. And whilst it seems that 'Folklore' hasn't spawned quite as big hit singles as 'Whoa Nelly', it does seem that 'Folklore' is an album with depth, with less reliance on trying to be contemporary. Indeed, 'Folklore' displays more of the roots and heritage of Furtado's upbring. There are songs here with a very European sound. Given the strength of the European record market, there's a good chances she'll be huge for years to come in South America and Mexico, Spain, France, Portugal - etc, etc. Yet, first things first. I don't actually like the sound of her voice on this record quite as much as I did like it all through her début record. It doesn't sound as warm, or something. She's seems to be trying harder to impress as a vocalist. Indeed, there are some fantastic vocal performances, she does wonderful things all through the soaring 'Picture Perfect', for example - yet her voice doesn't seem to exude the same natural quality it did through many of the début albums highlights.

    Still, we've quite an array of styles of music here, 'Powerless' is the kind of material Alanis Morrissette would have taken to the top of the charts a few years ago. It's a very catchy song, yet with interesting guitar picking and percussive sounds running underneath. 'Saturdays' is just Nelly and an acoustic guitar. One thing, 'Folklore' seems to be the sound of Nelly growing up as a songwriter and an artist. The songs are generally better, many of these songs are songs serious and respected alternative and/or long-standing folk singers would have been proud to have written. I love the loose feel of 'Saturdays', it's a highlight of the album for all its two minutes and five second length. Another highlight, an absolute stormer, arrives right towards the end, the very end, in fact. 'Childhood Dreams' is an absolute dream, a song of very real and rare quality in todays generally weak commercial music scene. The joy of Nelly Furtado is that she is able to bring quality music into the mainstream. I hope that's something she can continue to do throughout the years to come.

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    Readers Comments

    Hugues o.hugues@wanadoo.fr
    OKAY... "add your thoughts?" is the reader asked. "oh yeah, why not!" So: ???? How can Adrian like this album? Quality in the mainstream? Oh shit (excuse me): nope, this is still mainstream music for me, I don't mind much that it's a bit better than the usual one. Please, let's listen to musics that don't try to fit with masses tastes, this is already "giving up" to me. Say NO to the mainstream, definitely. And listen to Jill Sobule, now that's a genius. I'll be happy only when massive people will love the great music. I'm not totally desperate about it. But it asks us to make the effort to spread the word, it asks us (the fellow music lovers) to never give up to the shit chosen by people who have no taste in music. Nurse YOUR taste in music, not the crowd's one. The masses are asses (this is a L7 song).

    Ben wastedben@hotmail.com
    After hearing here first CD I was an instant fan and to me, Folklore has opened my eyes up even more genres of music. I love all the songs particularly 'Explode' and 'Picture Perfect' AND 'Childhood Dreams'! The only song I didn’t like was Island of wonder, I still enjoy listening to it but it was my least favourite. It’s a shame it wasn’t as successful commercially but I think that’s due to her giving birth only a month before the album was released. I read that being pregnant also meant her voice had changed a little with enabled her to sing lower notes. Anyone who wants to listen to something that’s different should get this album!

    Loose( 2006 )
    Afraid / Maneater / Promiscuous / Glow / Showtime / Np Hay Igual / Te Busque / Say It Right / Do it / In God's Hands / Wait For You / All Good Things

    It seems our dear Nelly Furtado is never one to repeat herself. Missy Elliott, Jay-Z, Justin Timberlake and more have all employed hip hop producer Timbaland to help them sell records with his commercial, hard and percussive brand of R&B, yet this seemingly unlikely marriage with Nelly Furtado has actually produced a very satisfying product. 'Promiscuous' and 'Maneater' have already been massive hit singles and that's fine. I like these kinds of commercial, accomplished yet still credible R&B in small enough doses. Usually across a full album it gets impossible to listen to, thus irritating, thus resulting in anger on my part and the likelihood I'll not review the artist in question, or that I'll give the artist in question a low grade. I've always been fascinated by the background and vocal talents of Nelly Furtado however and loved her sophomore set 'Folklore'. Radically different, 'Loose' is actually one of the best releases of 2006. Where it scores over apparently similar efforts by the likes of Gwen Stefani is that Furtado, due to her background, has a real flair with latin music and other world beats. It's in her nature and she brings something genuine to the table. Timbaland of course has also had an interest in that area. Actually, perhaps this marriage isn't as unlikely as some commentators have made it out to be? When the album sells, Timbaland will get the credit and again be seen as an innovator and commercial gold-touch, 'rescuing' the career of Nelly Furtado, yet Furtado needs equal credit here for being brave. She's made a radical stylistic shift over 'Folklore' and even the more commercial moments of her début rarely came across so sassily or youthfully. Spending nights for the 'Loose' sessions in the studio with her two year old child, Nelly Furtado is no slouch when it comes to creating or co-creating original material.

    Bang, bang. Dum. Bang Bang. Pause. Dum. Click click. Pop music should always have a distinctive introduction, just ask The Beatles. Perhaps my favourite actual pop song here is 'Say It Right'. The percussive pattern ( which I've attempted to describe just now! ) is distinctive and provides the tunes bedrock. The vocal melody is pretty and there's enough other detail in the backing to keep a listener interested. The chorus is plainly brilliant and reminds me, in a good way, of classic eighties pop hits yet doesn't sound dated, don't get me wrong. Rather just that eighties pop remembered to include a tune within the package, which not all R&B pop hits these days seem to remember to pack into the suitcase before leaving the scene. A truly world-wide sound, 'Te Busque' not only sounds genuine with it's latin and Spanish flavours, it also sounds classy and above normal run of the mill latin or Spanish pop hits. Western pop hits then, with 'Maneater' and 'Promiscuous', these are on a par with recent lead singles by Kelis or Gwen Stefani, those major pop hits that wind up irritating through over- exposure. Yet, as I've already hopefully given the impression, the rest of 'Loose' contains enough variety to provide an enjoyable listen way after 'Maneater' has dropped out of the charts and the next Timbaland production or sound-a-like is clogging up the airwaves. The closing 'All Good Things', for instance. It's another highlight of this astutely sequenced LP, a gorgeous, proper ballad well sung by Furtado. She'll always be an acquired taste for many, yet clearly by rating this album so highly, I've now firmly attached myself to her fanclub, that's if I hadn't already with 'Folklore'. Be surprised.

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    josie kay josk11@hotmail.com
    Hey man! This album took my by complete surprise. Like you, I can take or leave hip hop, but this is such a musical album - I've rarely heard beats and melody fit so well together. Maybe it's because Nelly's vocal and other stylings have caused Timbaland and her co-writers to stray from the average R&B formula - or maybe because the beats are so sparse and simple they leave room for the hooks to really breathe. Well, it doesn't matter, 'cos this is an awesome record. I think it will come to define 'noughties' pop music in a way that Stefani's LAMB overtly tried too hard to do. Stefani "told" me in not so subtle tones I should dig her album, Nelly just knows I will and doesn't have to be pushy about it. Very cool.

    this page last updated 14/10/08

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