Review: Nelly Furtado – The Spirit Indestructible (Deluxe Version)


(Updated 13.9.12) I breathed a big sigh of relief today when I was finally able to listen to Nelly Furtado‘s long awaited, 4th English studio album ‘The Spirit Indestructible’. After multiple hiccups from her label, questionable single choices, hectic half-assed music videos and here and there promotion, I feel that little bit better that it’s been worth riding the bumpy ride to the finished product.

T.S.I, her 5th album overall following on from Spanish album Mi Plan (2009), is probably her most diverse offering of music so far. Nelly Furtado has and probably always will be an artist that gives real, cultivated, cultured music. Each record infused with multiple influences, sounds and backgrounds. The Spirit Indestructible carries on that testament.

‘Whoa!, Nelly’ was fun, light, easy and latino, Folklore was folky, wholesome and truly beautiful, Loose was carnal, raw and refreshing. The Spirit Indestructible, according to Nelly herself, is “a friendly punch in the face”, I would say overcooked, squeaky and poppy. It’s definitely her most poppy record so far.

The singles Spirit Indestructible, Big Hoops and Parking Lot are great songs, but are all hindered by weird vocal tuning, both Spirit Indestructible and Big Hoops have squeaky, ear-piercing annoyingly pitched vocals. Parking Lot suffers from draggy, oddly echoed vocals and will constantly be compared to the far superior live version which we all heard first. All could be vastly improved with re-tuning, and Big Hoops would benefit with a much faster tempo.

Unfortunately nothing on this album ever reaches a level of brilliance, there are hints and moments of brilliance here and there, but never enough at one time. What grabs me the most is Circles, a really unique vibey almost retro song that sounds better with each layer (got it on repeat). Miracles, Believers, Bucket List and High Life are all strong songs, but I don’t love any of them, ya know? They’re good, just not amazing.

Waiting For The Night verges on being decent, it has this mysterious feel to it, and the story telling outro/intro from The Most Beautiful Thing leading into Waiting For The Night is great. The final minute of the song with the jumpy accordion is fantastic, if that made up the entire song it would have been awesome. Generally though, the beat and vibe of it all is very J.Lo generic for my liking, I keep wanting to sing “On The Floor” with it.

I really don’t like Something, Enemy or The Most Beautiful Thing, the latter being generally an empty, odd song. Skip all 3 of those.

What’s even more unfortunate is that all the Deluxe Version tracks, minus Thoughts are boring, mediocre, album fillers. Thoughts featuring the Kenyan Boys Choir is beautiful, a really great combination of harmonies.

Overall it’s a solid album, but I’m disappointed, I’m reviewing this album in it’s own right, but in relation to her other releases, Loose is still her best album so far. Any albums she releases in the future will always be compared to it too. The Spirit Indestructible isn’t weak, but for me it goes 1. Loose 2. Folklore. 3. Whoa!, Nelly, 4. Mi Plan. 5. The Spirit Indestructible

Practically every song could have been improved with shaper vocals, fresh, crisper instrumentals and less bass. The good songs sit a bit too comfortably and there are a selection of skippable tracks.

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I’ll always be a fan of Nelly Furtado because of the type of artist she is; talented, influential, interesting, brave and cultured. There’s always guaranteed quality within her records. Whilst I appreciate the diversity on T.S.I, it also comes across a tad inconsistent, it’s just not my favourite direction that she’s taken thus far. A bit too poppy personally. I just hope that we don’t have to wait another 6 years for another English album!

Favoured tracks: Spirit Indestructible, Parking Lot, Miracles, Circles, Big Hoops.

7/10

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4 thoughts on “Review: Nelly Furtado – The Spirit Indestructible (Deluxe Version)

  1. I was a little underwhelmed too, to be honest. I’m a huge fan but whenever the production gets interesting, clunky lyrics get in the way. ‘Bucket List’ could be a smash if the lyrics weren’t so trite. Same goes for ‘Believers’ and a lot of the other ‘inspirational’ songs. ‘Circles’ is incredible though. It sounds like what Passion Pit might sound like fronted by a woman. ‘Parking Lot’ is another solid track. An album of songs like ‘Circles’ and ‘Parking Lot’ would make her stand out from the crowd with something straddling the mainstream and eclectic alternatives. Her label screwing up on the marketing side doesn’t help matters either. Crossing my fingers that she jumps into the studio very very soon for an English follow-up because she can do so much more. Think Whoa Nelly’s effortless cool lyrics with Folklore’s organic beats and Loose’s attitude.

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