Album Review: Nelly Furtado – The Spirit Indestructible
Nelly Furtado has yet to go wrong. After the stunning debut ‘Whoa Nelly’, she followed with the defining ‘Folklore’ that, whilst not setting the charts alight, brought her plenty of acclaim and attention. Continuing where she left of with her last English album, the worldwide sensation ‘Loose, Nelly brings ‘The Spirit Indestructible’, a comeback that brings all you want and expect from Furtado; beats, hooks and heaps of passion.
You may have seen my gushing about the title track in a previous review and the album kicks off with its majestic drama. Things continue to look good with ‘High Life’ donning one of the most instant choruses on the album and next single ‘Parking Lot’ harnessing the beat of the year with it’s ‘Maneater’ stylings; thanks to it’s touch of M.I.A. and unforgettable hooks, it’ll be one of the tunes you return to first on the second play. Similarly, ‘Waiting For The Night’ is desperate to see release, as long as it gets a little extra strength in it’s chorus; nothing a single mix can’t fix. ‘Bucket List’ conjures up Nelly’s ‘Folklore’ album with it’s brand of glistening, touching pop and ‘Miracles’ is an absolutely stunning arrangement, particularly it’s beautiful oriental instrumentation, giving a world music flavour. Nelly’s latest release signals it’s end with the brilliant ‘Believers (Arab Spring)’, a natural close to what feels like an emotional journey; it is evidence of the distinct warmth on the album, as you may have come to expect from Furtado.
‘The Spirit Indestructible’ is flawed, though. There are a handful of tracks that simply don’t go anywhere and frustratingly leave you willing Nelly on for something more – a simple drop or build could suffice in most instances. ‘Something’ has a nice touch of excitement at the end, but the first two minutes, up until the last chorus, are repetitive and bland. Likewise, the sentiment and title-hook of ‘The Most Beautiful Thing’ is gorgeous but totally let down by the non-event that is the rest of the song. ‘Circles’ and additional track ‘Don’t Leave Me’ are, again, decent enough but are begging for a kick up the back side to really get themselves to the top of their game like some of the other material here.
If you ventured out for the deluxe edition, you’ll be pleased to know that the rest of the bonus tracks are some of the best tunes on offer. ‘Hold Up’ is Loose-era Nelly back with a vengeance, ‘End of the World’ is a gorgeous and simple ballad, whilst ‘End Game’ is an electronic tour-de-force with an addictive chorus. The real standout on CD2, however, is the stunning Tiesto remix of ‘Thoughts’ which elevates the lovely original version, also included, with a subtle touch of extra production. Yes, they are simply tossed together and don’t have much coherence but in amongst the deluxe collection are some of the most worthy songs from the era.
If Nelly Furtado needed to prove her integrity, this record has done it. It’s introverted and withdrawn in an endearing manner – it isn’t trying to be something it’s not. There aren’t as many massive moments like on ‘Loose’, but it’s through repeated plays that you notice what a stunning record it really is. There are moments of pure delight and euphoria that are tragically tainted by more than a few near misses but it is certainly worth your attention and Nelstars worldwide should find the album very rewarding if they afford enough attention to it.
Words: Simon McMurdo