Here is something really rather special; Nelly exploring the capabilities of her voice...
Suzanne Hutson 2003
Folklore sees Nelly Furtado well and truly re-discovering her roots. There isn't a frothy pop song to be found on this album, which isn't to say there aren't any hooks. Here is something really rather special; Nelly exploring the capabilities of her voice and trying outa remarkablyeclectic range of styles.
Undeniably influenced by her Portugese roots and a range of folk and world music, the diversity of instruments and vocal styles on this album is breathtaking. Enlisting Brazillian legend Caetano Veloso on guest vocals and the mighty Kronos Quartet on strings has injected this album with an eclectic feel altogether different to her debut Whoa Nelly.
This mixture kept me riveted from start to finish. The single, "Powerless", is joyful and defiant; the upbeat, insistent African percussion and Bela Fleck's banjo produce a quite wonderful song.
"Forca" opens with an irresistable tabla and talking-drum riff and builds to a chorus which would be comfortably at home on an Orchestra Baobab album. Whereas "Saturdays", inspired by Nelly's experience of cleaning hotel rooms with her mother, is a simple but forceful acoustic guitar/vocal track which sounds as if it were recorded in her bathroom. Nelly gets the giggles half way through, which does nothing to dimiinish the power of her vocal delivery and only adds to the one-take feel of the song. I'm breathless with admiration!
"Picture perfect" is different again. A lazy, 6/8 rhythm and delicious bluesy electric guitar riffs build to a memorable, anthemic chorus which will have you holding your lighter in the air and swaying. 'I want to show you all I have to offer' she sings. She achieves her aim and then some!
It is Nelly's vocals which really show how much she has grown as an artist. The deeper, warmer soul feel of her voice on "Forca" and "Picture Perfect" is a welcome departure from that trademark, grassy, R'n'B sound.
No question, Nelly has taken things to another level. Whoa Nelly went platinum on the basis of some wonderfully catchy tunes and a fresh new sound. Folklore has twice the originality and has real staying power. 'Nobody can ignore me' sings Nelly. And I'm not arguing with her. Buy!