To celebrate her first decade in music, the gorgeous Portuguese-Canadian is releasing her first greatest hits compilation. In her short career thus far, Nelly Furtado has amassed worldwide fame, won prestigious awards and sold millions of records. Considering her success, it’s pretty remarkable she’s stayed out of the tabloids and not been involved in any major scandals. Given the fact her female counterparts with equal or more success have been less than angelic, Nelly practically comes off as Mother Theresa. Nah, she’s just a good ‘ol Canadian girl doing her country proud.
The multi-platinum selling, Grammy-winning singer drops “The Best of Nelly Furtado” on November 16th and will be available in both standard and double-disc deluxe editions. It features all her hits and three brand new songs, including the recently released “Night Is Young“. Her fifth original album will be released in early 2011.
Furtado has only released four studio albums, and all have been very creatively different. “Whoa, Nelly!” (7 million units worldwide sold) introduced an earthy Lilith Fair artist, “Folklore” (3 million) then showcased her Portuguese roots. By the time “Loose” (10 million) came around, Furtado was revealing her sexy urban hip side. “Mi Plan“, her first album entirely in Spanish, showed off her bilingual skillz.
Take a quick trip down memory lane with me and see if you agree or disagree with my rankings. I have no doubt you will, as a couple of my choices are a bit random.
8. Turn Off The Light
Album: Whoa, Nelly!
“Turn Off The Light” was her followup to her massive single, “I’m Like A Bird” and peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard charts. There were two music videos filmed for the single. One that was filmed in a wooden shed and another directed by Sophie Muller in a swamp. The latter is embedded above. It was nowhere near as catchy as her previous single, but “Turn Off The Light” still featured a fun and hooky chorus.
Co-written by Timbaland and Furtado, “Maneater” was a big hit across much of Continental Europe. While it was still a hit in the US, it wasn’t nearly as big as its predecessor “Promiscuous”, but still managed to hit No. 16 on the Billboard Charts. Furtado has stated that The Eurythmics and Hall & Oates were huge influences when writing this song. She called it a “couture pop song” which had an “in your face and very fashionable, stylistic and of-the-moment.” It wasn’t one my favorite Nelly tracks, but I liked the video because Furtado looks smokin’ sexy hot in it.
6. Powerless (Say What You Want)
This is the only song from Nelly’s second album, “Folklore”, that made my list. In fact, it’s the only song that charted on the Billboard Chart as well. Unfortunately it only reached a peak of No. 109. Ouch. Her first album “Whoa, Nelly!” sold over 7 million units worldwide, but “Folklore” only moved 3 million. Apparently Nelly’s fans like her when she’s a pop tart, and not pushing Portuguese propaganda on them. The music video was directed by Bryan Barber and features Nelly trying to escape the proverbial box. So deep Nelly, so deep.
5. Say It Right
For Nelly’s third album, “Loose”, she collaborated heavily with Timbaland. Even though the album was a commercial success, a few of Furtado’s hardcore fans felt she had sold out and resorted to selling sex. To that I say, THANK GOD. I love my Nelly a little naughty. Apparently I was in the majority because the song hit No. 1 on Billboard and several other markets including New Zealand, France, Sweden to name a few. British duo Rankin & Chris filmed the music video. Nelly looks absolutely gorgeous throughout the video- a lot of closeups, glamor shots and the ever popular water pouring down your face move. Sexy! Sexy! Sexy!
4. Do It
What??? “Do It” made it this high on my list. Yup, and I’m standing by it. I absolutely love this track. The minute it was featured on an episode of “The Pussycat Dolls: Girlicious”, I fell in love with it. All the remaining girls had to dance seductively with male dancers. It was freakin’ hot. Pretty appropriate considering the lyrics have Nelly asking her lover to satisfy her physically. HmmMmm. Furtado co-directed the music video which was shot in Detroit during one of her stops on a concert tour. Fans of SYTYCDC Season 1, might recognize one of the dancers as Natalli who made it to the finals. The song only peaked at No. 88 on the charts, but ranked 4th on my list. Personally, I think the latter is more prestigious 😉
3. Get Ur Freak On (Remix)
Album: Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (Soundtrack)
Sure it’s a Missy Elliott track at its core, but the remix features Nelly so much, I like to consider it more of a duet. Many people think Nelly only became a hip hop girl for her “Loose” album, but the girl always loved to get down. Here’s a personal anecdote. I actually met Miss Nelly back in the day during underground hip hop parties in Vancouver. Let me just say, her urban persona wasn’t manufactured. It’s the real deal. During the MTV VMAs the song was released, Nelly joined Missy on stage during her performance. I became obsessed with this track when I first heard it at the clubs. My favorite Nelly lyric had her rapping “Nelly Nelly Nelly Furtado all in your stereo.” Sadly, a music video was never made, but it doesn’t matter. The track is that awesome.
2. I’m Like A Bird
Album: Whoa, Nelly!
This song launched Nelly into pop stardom and is widely considered as her signature song. In addition, it was one of the most successful singles of 2001 and reached No. 1 in various key markets. Furtado refers to the track as her “freedom song”. Freedom or not, “I’m Like A Bird” earned her numerous accolades including Grammys and Junos. Francis Lawrence directed Nelly in this beautifully shot music video. She absolutely radiates throughout each frame of the vid. I have to admit, I developed a little bit of a crush on her after this video. Having said that, why did Nelly’s coming out party only peak at No. 2 on my list? Easy, because I love my Furtado “Promiscuous”.
How could I put “Promiscuous” top on my list? Even Nelly refers to “I’m Like A Bird” as her favorite song. Doesn’t matter to me, “Promiscuous” is by and far her best track IMHO. It was Nelly’s first No. 1 in the US and named the No. 3 song on Billboard’s prestigious Hot 100 singles of 2006. Not only was the hot track a commercial success, but it received positive critic reviews as well. Collaborator Timbaland appeared in the Little X-directed music video. He wasn’t alone. Keri Hilson, Bria Myles and Justin Timberlake all made cameos. When writing the track, Furtado and Timbaland took inspiration from pop music of the 80s and based the sexual content of the track on “strong women” in hip-hop in the 90s, including Queen Latifah, Salt-N-Pepa and TLC. Whatever the inspiration, the result was a catchy dance pop anthem classic.
So what did you think of my rankings? Do you agree with my top choices or am I musical idiot? Weigh in with your comments below.
- Nelly Furtado: “What You Wanna Do (The Night Is Young)”
- No More Leakage From Nelly
- Billboard: Summer Songs Of The 1990s