I don’t like Nelly Furtado. I hate “I’m Like a Bird” and “Turn Off the Light” with a passion. I cringe every time one of her songs comes on the radio and immediately change the station.When I found Furtado’s CD, “Folklore,” in the Campus Times office, I casually picked it up and threw it in my bag with a few other CDs that I actually wanted to listen to. When I got home and put “Folklore” in my CD player, I was pleasantly surprised.It was OK. No, more than OK, it was decent. I could listen to the CD more than one, two or six times. That doesn’t mean it was the best CD I’ve ever listened to – that just means it did its job as a catchy pop record.The first track, “One Trick Pony,” has one of the smoothest yet punchy beats I’ve ever heard. Including both the banjo and mandolin was a good decision on this track and throughout the rest of the CD.Furtado decided to bring out her first single early on, with the second track, “Powerless.” I liked this song – in the “it’s so poppy it makes me happy” way – until I visited her Web site and watched the “Powerless” music video. The bouncing, smiling Furtado was enough to make me hurl all over my keyboard.Her second single off “Folklore” is “Try,” a power ballad similar to those of Michelle Branch. The blend of the vibraphone and synthesized scratching with her voice is a combination that will stay in a listener’s head.Her next single off “Folklore” will most likely be “Fresh Off the Boat,” a song showing her pride in her immigrant family. The lyrics may seem sparse or cheesy – “The plastic on the furniture suits me just fine” – but the rhythm makes up for it. The track is falling in line with some of the later Britney Spears, incorporating strange and unfamiliar instruments with modern DJ scratching. One thing Britney doesn’t have on Furtado is use of a Romance language. Portuguese words and phrases add a special flavor to many of “Folklore’s” tracks.This flavor is injected into her next track, “Forca,” which is a Portuguese slang word for “kick ass.” Just as you would think, “Forca” is full of energy. On “Forca,” you won’t find collaboration with Timberland or Jade. On the contrary, it appears that she has completely abandoned the rap/hip hop sound, instead favoring banjo player Bela Flek. Furtado even plays acoustic guitar on “Saturdays,” a song that takes a goofy turn after Jarvis Church overplays his back-up vocal job. Her involvement in “Folklore” is also something you won’t find on a Britney or Christina CD – Furtado either wrote or co-wrote every song on the album.More serious lyrics and a softer sound can be found on “Build You Up” and “Childhood Dreams.” For the most part, the lyrics are solid. Even in spots where the words seem to be a bit flaky – like in “Fresh Off the Boat” – the meaning behind them fills in the spaces. “Folklore” balanced the negative opinion of Furtado that “I’m Like a Bird” and that song she did with Missy Elliot formed for me. I still don’t understand her self-made funky style of clothing that’s bright enough to blind a bat or why she is eating a chicken leg in the inside of the CD booklet, but I now have more respect for her as a musician.Borchardt can be reached at jborchardt@campustimes.org.



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