June 29, 2006

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Nelly Furtado, Loose
Geffen Records, 2006

"What to say," mutters on-and-off has-been and new mom Furtado in opening track "Afraid" before settling on a few wearisome platitudes about self-reliance and blah-de-blah, not that Socratic genius was expected from a project headed up by what's left of the mind of ex-Missy Elliott/Aaliyah shaman Timbaland, a man so chart-hypnotized that he's sloshed his new protoge with '80s/reggaeton/hip-hop paint-by-numbers more predictable than a Supremes number in a Julia Roberts movie montage. As hi-hat-driven chill beats go, "Afraid" is too interesting for sports-bar-goers, therefore it's the rest of the album's fault that everything's so generic. Hookless ballad "In God's Hands" finds Furtado nicking Jewel trying to nick Missy Elliott, and when she's not doing that she's clumsily aping retired T&A divas like Paula Abdul ("Do It") and Donna Summer ("Say It Right"), or posing to pedestrian baked-asphalt barrio-tron ("No Hay Igual," "Te Busque"). What matters most of course is what Budweiser and MTV marketing dorks see in their pie charts, so don't hurt yourself butt-dancing too much to this one; it'll be replaced by another Destiny's Child-pilfered set of ringtones on the double. C-

— Eric Saeger


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