2000, Music

Whoa, Nelly! (2000) by Nelly Furtado

I’ve paid basically no attention to Nelly Furtado. I was aware of her hits – and remember the hits from this record – but was otherwise utterly uninterested. Some of that has to do with my music tastes – specially my tastes when I was 19 – and some of that appears to have to do with how she was marketed at the time.

Because, the thing is, she’s really a singer-songwriter who just happens to be dressing up her music in contemporary sounds. And that’s not at all the vibe I got when she debuted (as far as I can remember). But it turns out her songs are pretty good, definitely catchy and relatively diverse, especially for pop music. And her lyrical voice absolutely feels like her own in a way I really didn’t appreciate when I was ignoring her. Like this album feels like it is the work of a personality if you know what I mean.

There is a lot of stylistic diversity here, much more than I ever imagined. Few of the styles are my thing but I appreciate her ability to do different things successfully. Though this diversity is hinted at by the hits – something I couldn’t see when I was 19 and in love with prog rock – I still think it’s probably more diverse than you think. And it’s mostly successful, I think. It’s not one of those records where you get whiplash from the genres colliding.

And Furtado’s voice is pretty decent and he’s clearly capable of singing all these different styles. A few times she really impresses with her cadence with some hip hop inspired stuff that really stands out from the way she normally sings.

And the record sounds pretty good 20 years later. Maybe not enough time has passed to really hear the cliches of 2000 pop and R&B but, to my ears it sounds modern and good.

A quite impressive debut album, super self-assured and distinct.

7/10

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