The buzz for Nelly Furtado's Loose
began before the music was even recorded, with the announcement that legendary hip-hop knob-twirler Timbaland (Missy Elliott, Jay-Z, Justin Timberlake) would act as co-producer. The question on fans' minds: what would it sound like when a hip-hop kingpin collaborated with an artist who culls inspiration not just from pop music, but also her own Portuguese roots?
As it turns out, Loose incorporates a number of different styles along its journey, but is--surprisingly--primarily divided between '80s-influenced electronica and latin-infused pop. This disc is very different from Furtado's previous CDs, a fact immediately evident from track one, the new wave-affected "Afraid." A strong opener, the song is the beginning of a 1-2-3 punch of uptempo, infectious dance floor beats. The second cut, "Maneater," also proves to be incredibly catchy, but the verses and keyboard sound too much like they were plucked from electroclash artist Peaches' tree, and originality is lost. The perfect summer pop song follows, the massive hit "Promiscuous," which features clever interplay between Furtado and Timbaland on their sassy duet. From that point, Loose oscillates between the Miami-affected sounds of R&B, Latino pop, and reggaeton ("Showtime," "Te Busque," and "No Hay Igual" respectively) and the aforementioned '80s vibe ("Glow," "Do It"). Fans will hear Furtado at her vocal best on "Say It Right" and "In Gods Hands"--two of the most lyrically compelling tracks on the disc. --Denise Sheppard