THE GRADE B+
BOTTOM LINE Furtado makes a laid-back, groove-filled comeback.
Like Nelly Furtado has always told us, she’s like a bird and, for five years, she only flew away from the spotlight, learning how to sew and taking some playwriting classes.
The time away served Furtado well, giving her new album, “The Ride” (Nelstar Entertainment/ElevenSeven), a renewed sense of focus without losing her experimental edge.
On “Flatline,” she combines bleeping medical sounds with a bouncy pop groove and cooing come-ons like “Come on, resuscitate me.” The melancholy “Carnival Games” shows how many relative female newcomers, from Sia to Daya, owe at least a bit of their success to Furtado’s “Promiscuous” days, when her distinctive vocals helped pave the way for edgier voices on pop radio.
The first single, “Pipe Dreams,” however, shows how Furtado has been influenced by recent pop herself. The spare, dreamy vibe and laid-back, synth-driven groove offers her gospel-tinged twist on the successes of Miley Cyrus, with world beat rhythms forming the backbone instead of trap beats, while “Right Road” throws some Robyn-styled alternative dance pop into the mix.
Throughout “The Ride,” Furtado seems energized and ready to see where her musical journey takes her next.