Nelly Furtado - The Spirit Indestructible
Record Label: Mosley / Interscope
Release Date: September 18, 2012
It's been a few years since the US has heard new music from Nelly Furtado. Her last album Loose was released in 2006 and spawned two multi-platinum singles ("Promiscuous" and "Say It Right"). Loose was a departure from her roots as a singer/songwriter but became a worldwide hit as a result of her new sound. Her latest record The Spirit Indestructible is a continuation of her dance-pop sound, drawing on world music influences and ultimately, trying to prove that the success of Loose was no fluke.
The album starts off with "Spirit Indestructible", with Furtado's vocals over a soft piano intro before it kicks into a driving dance beat. The production on this album is handled by Rodney "Darkchild" Jenkins (Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber), who succeeds in helping Furtado flex her range as a vocalist.
The track "Big Hoops (Bigger The Better)" sounds almost exactly like a Rihanna b-side, with pounding drums and Rihanna's trademark "eh, eh, eh" vocal hook. Perhaps in response to these observations, Furtado states "I don't want to talk about sex...", telling the haters that she is no Rihanna. It's easy to forget that since Furtado's last album, Rihanna's career has taken her from a virtual unknown to one of the biggest females artists in the world. Furtado's career started well before Rihanna's, so perhaps she is just reminding us all about who is copying who.
Other notable tracks on The Spirit Indestructible include "Waiting For The Night", a very sexy Euro-sounding dance track. Furtado's vocals really shine on this track, blending her unique voice with the lush background synths and Eastern instrumentation. "Miracles" is a mid-tempo synth heavy track that is very middle of the road and safe, neither shining nor disappointing.
As her fourth full length English album, Nelly Furtado seems like she has finally fine tuned her sound to a blend of dance pop with singer/songwriter roots. Unfortunately, the songs as a whole seem to be missing that spark that made her a household name. The album is filled with decent songs, but as a superstar, my expectations were much higher and ultimately left me disappointed with the lack of great tracks this time around. I would have liked to have seen her work with other producers on this album such as Timbaland, someone who she has chemistry with and who helped her define her sound. It seems like a lot of her songs were just leftovers from other recording sessions and never truly felt like a cohesive album. While Furtado's spirit may indeed be indestructible, perhaps the six year gap in between US releases proved far too much for her to overcome.