Nelly Furtado: The Spirit Indestructible
Oh, Nelly Furtado. The expectations that were created after Loose, a phenomenal album that matched Timbaland production with Spanish flavor and international star Juanes, have doomed The Spirit Indestructible. My genuine enjoyment was marred by a previous enjoyment of Loose, but record sales have also reflected the difference, where Loose outsold TSI by over 20,000 copies. What else has doomed TSI? It actually isn’t very good.
The worst thought for a pop star to project is that they sound so similar to such and such other pop star. It may be a game of generic-makes-approachable, but there’s still a need to be catchy and inventive. On TSI, Furtado tries to marry her previous folk/pop voice with more progressive reggaeton and dance music. The album is supposed to be inspired by people who have persevered despite disadvantage and live within a system that negatively effects them. But most telling is that the single selected to represent the album, after the title track, “Big Hoops (Bigger the Better)” is about… what? Earring culture in Latino and African youth in America, or some overt innuendo for pop culture and creating a big enough superficial image to attach on later some even more superficial substance.
TSI showcased Furtado’s problems rather than highlight her strengths. Her voice feels flat and nasal, and the talking between tracks that worked for Loose to provide artistic insight is now boring and distracting. TSI is as inspired by African perseverance and Arab Spring (included in one title no less) as volunteerism (the practice of first world citizens going to third world countries to publicly showcase their selflessness and promote their do-gooding before focusing on third world problems).