Spin Control


June 25, 2006



Nelly Furtado, "Loose" (Geffen) **1/2

The well-marketed slickness was there from the start of Canadian singer Nelly Furtado's career -- especially onstage -- but her 2000 debut "Whoa, Nelly!" and its 2003 follow-up "Folklore" struck a workable compromise between mainstream pop fluff and a more eclectic vision incorporating worldbeat (the artist has roots in Portugal) and arty diversions, such as collaborations with the Kronos Quartet and Brazilian legend Caetano Veloso. But the art and the genre-hopping have largely been erased from Furtado's third album, where she cheerfully acquiesces to being remade in the increasingly tired "skanky ho" mold of Xtina and Britney.

The pop world hardly needs another chirpy airhead squeaking about a "Maneater" over a throbbing electro groove, cooing about being "Promiscuous," boasting about her orgasmic "Glow" or urging the pre-teen set to get over being "Afraid" and "move your body around like a nympho."

But if you set aside the expectations Furtado set during the first phase of her career and discount a voice that is hardly well-suited for this kind of material, there are a few successful moments here, courtesy of a typically inviting but often surprisingly skewed production by the masterful Timbaland. Chief among them: the Spanish-language tokens "No Hay Igual" and "Te Busque" (which hedges its bets by also appearing in an English version) and the lovely, Madonna-esque ballad "All Good Things (Come to an End)," co-written with Coldplay's Chris Martin.