Nelly Furtado took some time off after making her highly infectious 2006 album Loose . Well, she took some a break from making English-language albums, and instead, she dropped 2009′s Spanish Mi Plan .
But this week’s release, The Spirit Indestructible, finds Furtado planted somewhere in between pop vixen from 2006 and earthy songstress reminiscent of Mi Plan.
“This new album juxtaposes a lot of different things,” she told MTV News about the release. “There’s an innocence mixed with, like, a heaviness. There’s sort of a playful energy with mixed with like a raw energy. It’s a bit dark and light at the same time, just harder beats with playful vocals. So this album’s very inspired: a lot of comes from my own life, life stories, experiences, even a lot of the themes are joy, celebration, nostalgia, novelty. [It] kind of runs the gamut. I think it’s my most lyrically strong album to date as well.”
Furtado has tried a bit of everything in the years since she dropped her debut album, Whoa, Nelly!, in 2000. She made a name for herself thanks to her folkie-influenced pop, but eventually stormed the charts as a dance-floor siren thanks to an assist from Timbaland on Loose. Now, 12 years into her career, she’s willing to give it all a try, and it all makes up The Spirit Indestructible.
“I take this sort of buffet approach to making music,” she said. “I just kind of want it all on every album. I think this album is sort of a combination of all my sounds. I think this new album is totally spiritual in this really not obvious kind of way. I love songs that make you move your body, but sort of have a deeper meaning to them.”
And, she looked to a number of influences (see Odd Future for her single “Big Hoops (Bigger the Better)” ) and collaborators to help her craft her sound. That includes assists from Rodney Jerkins, Passion Pit leading man Michael Angelakos and producer Salaam Remi who helped make her Nas collaboration, “Something,” happen.
“[Producer] Salaam Remi was a big part of this album,” she recalled. “Him and I met during Mi Plan… He recorded three tracks for that and then near the end when I was just, like not even feeling like singing in English again, he was like, you know, trying to coax me back into it.”
She continued, “He played me this beat and we did an English song, and we kept working together. And he’s become a great friend and every girl or guy making pop records, sometimes when you love urban music, there’s always room for a great hip-hop cameo. And I think everybody’s first choice is always Nas, for many reasons. And Salaam, you know, works with him so much that he said ‘Oh, no problem’.”
From there, the tune, which she said highlights Nas’ undeniable talent for making words mean something, was born. She added, “And he sent Nas the track, he loved it. It wasn’t until I was finally sending in my liner notes to the label and handing in my lyrics that I had to ask Salaam for Nas’ rap… It’s one thing listening to Nas rap, but then when you see his words on paper, you really see what a poet he is. And I’m happy he’s on the album.”