NELLY FURTADO Folklore (DreamWorks) Rating: NN
The immense pop-star popularity our girl Nelly scored with Whoa, Nelly! back in 2000 gives her artistic freedom to reach back to her roots and make a record infused with homespun Portuguese flavour (hence the title) for her follow-up. Seems like an admirable proposition, right? I mean, fado's a hip genre, and the sound of Brazilian Rs rolling off the belter's tongue is pretty sexy. Unfortunately, in doing so, Furtado forgets that catchy hooks are the reason I'm Like A Bird flew onto the charts. Folklore is a muddled stylistic mess of overly chilled beats and bland, indistinct melodies. Whether fronting hiphop style on lead track One Trick Pony (hrm ), whinging about failed romance on The Grass Is Greener or ruminating on lazy days backed by Jarvis Church's castrato yelp, Furtado tries too hard to be a "serious artist." Even guests like Bela Fleck and Caetano Veloso can't snap her back to reality.