Suffering from what appears to be an identity crisis Nelly Furtado stumbles through her first English album in six years. Following up the 2006 smash Loose, Nelly returns with an overreaching and confused effort in The Spirit Indestructible.
Furtado ruffled more than a few feathers in ’06 changing up her globally conscious pop and heavy emphasis on thoughtful songwriting for mega-producer Timbaland’s slick beats. Loose spawned numerous hits as a more carefree and empowered Nelly emerged.
Spirit‘s title track and fellow single ‘Big Hoops’ highlight Furtado’s progression wrapping herself in tribal beats and electronic twists that perk ears, the latter being a rare moment where Nelly demands your attention. It’s all very promising but quickly falls apart as appearances by Ace Primo on ‘Hife Life,’ an analysis of fame and fortune and Nas trip-hop jam ‘Something’ fail to impress. While a handful of half-hearted throw aways like ‘Bucket List’ fill the spaces in between the albums lone bright spot comes during ‘Parking Lot’ an M.I.A./Santigold/Gwen Stefani mash-up that bangs, giving in to Nelly’s urges.
Ultimately Spirit suffers from pretty soundscapes bogged down in heavy-handed lyrics becoming a Confessions on a Dancefloor-by-numbers caricature of itself as it overreaches in an attempt to fuse dancefloor ready beats with heavy introspective lyrics, a feet even the Material Girl achieved with varying degrees of success.
Perhaps if Nelly gave into more of her urges and the let the songwriting take care of itself Spirit would have found a happy medium between it’s predecessors instead of being outstretched and confused.
SV Approved: ‘Parking Lot’