When Nelly Furtado first sauntered her way into our lives with ‘I’m Like A Bird’, it seemed as though at last there was a pop star who could offer more than the standard bland fare that had become the norm. Raised in Canada but of Portuguese descent and with a musical pallet that took in a myriad of different influences, her debut album Woah! Nelly! proved that the single was no flash in the pan. Nelly Furtado, you felt, was here to stay.
Except she wasn’t. Ten years later and her’s has been the story of a talent that promised much but inexplicably faded and this best of acts, not as a celebration, but as a document of where it all went wrong. It certainly wasn’t with her second album Folklore, at least creatively. Another warm and human record, the three tacks included here show an artist taking control of her destiny and developing a unique voice. The only problem was that controlling her own destiny didn’t sell records. Handing it over to the zeitgeist producer of the moment, however, did and with Timbaland in tow she became a commercial force once more. Sadly, she had to surrender all those unique traits to do it, enjoying a career resurrection with exactly the kind of off the peg chart music she had previously offered such a respite from (the Chris Martin helmed ‘All Things Must Come To An End’ proving the only exception) and a seeming willingness to disrobe while doing it.
And that was pretty much it, last year’s Spanish language album Mi Plan aside. The Best Of… tries to tie up the story with three, pretty average, new songs and a hotch potch mixture of covers, remixes and collaborations that range from the sublime (The Roots) to the awful (Tiesto, Michael Buble). It’s not the stuff that legends are made of to be honest. Maybe we should just chalk this one up to experience and move on.