Morning Star columnist
Canadian singer songwriter Nelly Furtado’s sixth album, The Ride is a toned down take on electronic that’s heavy on pop melodies and Furtado’s unmistakable vocal presence. The Victoria born singer hasn’t returned to her original folk-pop sound but hasn’t done a mid-period artistic detour like the one done with producer Timbaland way back when. Her work here with producer John Congleton (St. Vincent) in Dallas pushes Furtado’s always present vocal pop sensibilities to the fore over super solid electro beats and monolithic synth hooks. The sunshine rush of I’m Like a Bird has given way to reflective material (Palaces), but her old spirit returns on songs like Live and Pipe Dreams.
Furtado’s status as a vocal personality is assured on The Ride and her easy embrace of styles makes sense listening to tracks like Paris Sun. Her Madonna influence is detectable mainly for her style morphing ability while keeping her character strong whatever the context.
Her early love of multi tracking and call and response is muted down on The Ride in favour of space and melodic lines. Sticks and Stones and Right Road benefit from this and her wonderfully smooth midrange voice cuts through like a cornet — long may she play on.
– Dean Gordon-Smith is a Vernon-based musician who reviews the latest music releases every Friday for The Morning Star.