It’s hard to believe that it’s been five years since Canadian singer/songwriter Nelly Furtado released her last English full-length album The Spirit Indestructible and even longer still that she had us up and dancing around to her massive hits, Promiscuous, Maneater and Say It Right from 2006’s Loose. And let’s not linger too long on the fact that her that her breakout single, I’m Like A Bird was featured on her debut album, Whoa Nelly! (released in 2001).
Now, Furtado has officially released her highly anticipated sixth studio album, The Ride, an alt-pop record she considers to be inspired by life’s hard knocks, celebrating the stumbles and one’s ability to move on.
Though it has been a while since Furtado’s last full length release, it would seem that she has lost none of the unique vibe that has earned her millions of fans worldwide. The Ride is a testament to Furtado’s ability to find her own pop niche, and stand out from artists who have come before, or will follow her into the industry.
The Ride opens with the heavy in-your-face hook of Cold Hard Truth, and it’s easy to see why this release is thought to be a departure from her usual sound. While it’s just that little bit different from her previous material, it’s still uniquely Furtado’s style, and certainly sucks the listener in in a way that only she can.
Carnival Games and Tap Dancing show off the lighter side to the singer-songwriter’s voice, highlighting her versatility and ability to excel in both ballads and more upbeat tunes. Be it the lyrical quality behind these songs or the sweet melody that provide a contrast to the tracks they feature in between, personally, I can’t seem to find fault with them.
If there is one downfall of The Ride it comes in Pipe Dreams and Right Road. While the songs start off promising, they just don’t hold water and ultimately fall flat amid tracks that are quite solid. For me, they were way too generic and a little boring.
Paris Sun has a sticky, almost dirty beat to it that’s just begging to be played loud in a dark club somewhere, but Sticks and Stones and Palaces have that unique hit potential that Furtado is probably most well known for. The latter in particular is a definite highlight for me. You also can’t go past the closing track, Pheonix. Lyrically profound and beautiful, it’s the perfect way to finish this album.
The thing that I enjoy most about Furtado’s music is that she doesn’t seem to follow trends like many other female artists in the industry. She releases her style of music when she’s ready, and is seemingly ignorant of pressures others often succumb to. That’s what makes this album work. Sure, it does have hallmarks of her previous hits, but the overall sound has been revamped and modernised in a way that embodies the freshness of 2017 pop.
Whether you’re looking for something reminiscent of when pop wasn’t all meaningless noise, or just want something a little fresher to add to your music collection, give The Ride a listen. Though it does have its ups and downs, there’s enough there to make it shine.
[Editor/Author Note: This review was published by AMNplify. View it in its original capacity here.]