Pop Folk, 2000
Nelly Furtado’s debut CD Whoa, Nelly! is a delightful mixture of guitar Lilith-Fair rock (not necessarily a good thing – think Lisa Loeb and Jewel, but Ms Furtado pulls it off), Brazilian techno-samba, trance rhythm, and some other hard-to-categorize elements. Skeptics fed up on the Paula Cole/Joan Osborne/Alanis Morissette staple may pinch their noses, but I really have a great time listening to this one.
Of course, like many of her contemporaries, she falls into the common trap of trying too hard to be Bob Dylan with a little girl’s journal writing slant. Tracks like I Will Make U Cry is very listenable, but the lyrics don’t stand out at all. Ms Furtado shines best when she is singing typical late teens/early 20’s introspective blues: I’m Like a Bird flies high indeed, Hey, Man! grooves, and my favorite, Shit on the Radio (Remember The Days) is the perfect track with great hooks and a killer chorus. Throughout it all, Ms Furtado’s high, slightly raspy vocals are heavenly to the ears.
Whoa, Nelly! seems to have it made: it’s accessible without sacrificing substance and melody. Britney Spears, go eat a cake. I’m listening to Nelly Furtado.