Picks and Pans Review: Whoa, Nelly!
In a year in which such teen-pop queens as Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and Jessica Simpson have reigned on the charts, it's tempting to dismiss Nelly Furtado as just an-other pretender to the throne. After all, she certainly looks like she walked right off the set of one of those WB series. But there's something different about the 21-year-old Canadian chanteuse. And it's not just that she's a brunette. On this, her debut album, she writes her own songs, plays guitar (she's also capable on trombone and ukulele) and even sings in Portuguese.
Like another young female singer-songwriter from up North, Alanis Morissette, Furtado backs up her musical ambition with an agility beyond her years. One moment she's chirping like a Rasta Madonna over the reggae thump of "Baby Girl," next she's cooing to the bossa-nova beat of "Legend." Then she jazzes up the pure pop confection "I'm Like a Bird" with a bluesy rasp that would make Macy Gray jealous.
Such style-hopping may not be to everyone's taste, but somehow Furtado manages not to lose herself in the mix. In fact, when she asks, "Do I have your attention?" at the end of the half-spoken "Trynna Finda Way," there is no doubt about it.
Bottom Line: You Whoa, girl!