Nelly Furtado’s artistic identity has bounced around wildly in her two decades of stardom, in which she has released 6 studio albums. The latest, ‘The Ride’, maintains Furtado’s trademark soft melodies and pop hooks whilst simultaneously taking a leap into the unknown with its production, landing it somewhere artistically different to that song we all know and ‘Maneater’.
Opening optimistically with the single ‘Cold Hard Truth’, Nelly Furtado sets a tone which instantly conveys her whispy vocals with a production backline bleeding edginess, featuring: drums, percussion and synth which carry the singer through. The same blueprint is mimicked throughout the album, marking a new writing partnership and highlighting loyalty to the skill set of a newly assigned producer-writer John Congleton.
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The clichè laden lyrics are an oxymoron to Congleton’s edgy and driving production, ticking boxes with an array of audiences. Apart from the inescapable heart monitor beep within ‘Flatline’, it’s evident why Furtado nominated the St. Vincent producer to give her yet another artistic makeover.
The Ride is at times an uphill journey into the world of alt-pop, which – although daring – does not wholly succeed in reintroducing the Canadian singer to the world of pop at heights of accolade that she has previously reached. Peaking at 81 on the UK charts and failing to make the cut on the other side of the pond, the comeback album has gone relatively unnoticed. However, despite not featuring within the spotlight, ‘The Ride’ has several distinctive qualities that would be noted as genius had they been undertaken by a number of other superstars of arguably untouchable acclaim.
Amongst ‘Cold Hard Truth’, the other single on the album ‘Pipe Dreams’ also stands out as something with a distinct edginess, owing to it’s spaced-out Ballad approach which worthily warrants use of the repeat button. Moreover, ‘Sticks and Stones’, is a bass driven anthem which could be reproduced equally as impressive live, as opposed to on the album.
With glimpses of gold and holistic listenability, ‘The Ride’ sets a foundation for a new sounding Nelly Furtado. Although it lacks quality in continuity; who actually listens to albums consecutively in the single-populated monthly-playlist music streaming market of today? Undeniably, 5 years on from her last studio album, ‘The Ride’ showcases a forward thinking approach that mirrors the current music scene, especially in comparison to previous works ‘Loose’ and ‘Whoa, Nelly!’. Despite not quite reaching heights allowing Nelly Furtado to fly like a bird, ultimately ‘The Ride’ has been unfairly disregarded as a noteworthy album of 2017 thus far.
‘The Ride’ is available now via Nelstar Music.