Nelly Furtado – Loose (2006): Review


Produced by Daryn Barry, Jim Beanz, Julio Reyes Copello, Danja, Nelly Furtado, Lester Mendez, Rick Nowels, Neal H. Pogue, Andy Rogers, Nisan Stewart, Timbaland and Track & Field
Label – Geffen

In 2000, Nelly Furtado released the sweet, kooky and refreshing “Whoa Nelly”, and the singles, “I’m Like A Bird” and “Turn Off The Light”, which mixed her trip hop past with pop, and were a spiky, genuine alternative to the Aguilera’s and Britneys. 2003s “Folklore” was a mellower affair, moving further from the mainstream market, and was built from influences of her Portuguese background. In comparison to her debut, it was brave, but a commercial disaster. At the time, the blame was firmly placed with the collapse of her record label, DreamWorks, and the subsequent enforced switch to Geffen. The truth was that the market wasn’t ready for such a major genre switch, and that’s why one gets the distinct impression that the suits at corporate level were getting twitchy and steered the direction for this 2006 release. There’s no room for sentimental non-conformity, and “Loose” is squarely routed in a style of music that has remained popular in the charts for a number of years.


So how did Geffen wash the originality out of Miss Furtado? Firstly, bring in the busiest pop/hip hop producer in the business at the time, Timbaland. Secondly, take splashes of 80s synth pop and traditional hip hop rhythms, a la Gwen Stefani. Toss in a few Latin tinges a la Jennifer Lopez, and round off with a sexy new image, a la Christina Aguilera. The singles, “Maneater” and “Promiscuous” are merely passable pap, lacking anything other than an immense impression that Furtado is letting go of her artistic integrity in favour of a quick fix, chart led assault. Defensively, Nelly had stated in interviews that the music she had produced for “Loose” was a new style called “Punk Hop”, which of course is complete bunkum and a charade created to distract listeners from the fact that this record is so desperately derivative of music from similar artists. The Latin songs in particular are so chemically inert, and the hip hop songs seem to lack conviction, fitting comfortably on the shelf with whatever Paris Hilton was serving up at the time. During the many “happy” skits between songs, Furtado announces, “This beat is so emotional!”. Since when did a rhythm ever become an emotional experience? Emotion in song is driven by sincere, lasting tunes; something sadly missing on this album.

Tragically, “Loose” is one of the most lightweight albums in popular music history. The exotic bird from “Whoa Nelly” did fly away and left this guano behind.


Track Listing
1 Afraid
2 Maneater
3 Promiscuous
4 Glow
5 Showtime
6 No Hay Igual
7 Te Busque
8 Say It Right
9 Do It
10 In God’s Hands
11 Wait For You
12 Somebody To Love
13 All Good Things (Come To An End)

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