"Loose" (Geffen) **1/2
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