One thing that needs to be said about Nelly Furtado is she definitely doesn't play it safe.

From the chilled pop of I'm Like a Bird, to the edgier Turn off the Light through to her foray into hip-hop on Maneater, her career has always been a mixed bag.

Back then, we called them "reinventions" and Furtado looked to be a master of them. Now though, it seems it's more just a case of not knowing what to do.


The Ride is a pop record, but it draws influences from all over the show with no apparent regard for cohesiveness.

A lot of this is to do with John Congleton's production, which at times is totally overdone and just a bit much, particularly when Furtado's vocals simply aren't strong enough to compete.

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Partway through the album we go from the upbeat pop sound of Live into a moody, dark, Massive Attack-esque Paris Sun. Then there's the folk-pop Sticks and Stones, and Magic, which sounds like a Taylor Swift song circa 2007.

The comeback album doesn't mess around with lyrical subtleties either, as Furtado sings about breaking free from chains and rising up like a phoenix from the ashes.

It's definitely commercial pop; it's not meant to change your life or make an impact on your listening habits. It's meant to sell, and by following foolproof and predictable (and thus catchy) pop structures, it probably will.

But even Furtado seems to admit what's going on here, singing on the ballad Tap Dancing: "Maybe I should just give it up for a while...I shouldn't have to dance at all for you to love me. Don't look too closely, just clap your hands.

"I'm just doing what I can for you to like me".

Nelly Furtado, The Ride

Artist:

Nelly Furtado

Album:

The Ride

Label:

Nelstar

Verdict:

A weak comeback but some solid pop