Whoa, Nelly!

Whoa, Nelly!

One of the most impressive debut albums of the new millennium, 2000’s Whoa, Nelly! effortlessly transcended musical genres as it introduced an artist of exceptional promise. Nelly Furtado makes it all look easy, pouring sophisticated street poetry into a savory stew of folk, hip-hop, Latin and pop influences with a confidence that belies her 21 years. Challenging expectations on track after track, she saunters through arrangements blending gentle acoustic guitar, rippling percussion and steamy urban beats with a brash and winning flair. Whether her supple vocals convey waif-like dreaminess or inviting sensuality, she avoids diva-like poses in favor of an earthy, open-hearted persona. The tunes flow seamlessly from start to finish, with highlights including the string-draped “Hey, Man,” the bossa nova-driven “Legend” and the brass-accented “Baby Girl”.” Those with a taste for melodic pop will find “Well, Well” and “I’m Like A Bird” irresistible, and Furtado’s Portuguese heritage is invoked in the passionate fado ballad “Scared Of You.” Amidst all these spacey pastiches and playful sonic maneuvers, the clear-eyed intelligence and genuine warmth of this exceptional singer/songwriter shines consistently through. Whoa, Nelly! is the work of an unstoppable talent.

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