World music for the masses to masticate

My review for Nelly Furtado’s new album, “Folklore” will include quite a bit of gushing because I was so in love with it. Listening to this album was like the rain after a drought. This album is so refreshing, it brought all my senses to life.

The bare bones of my review is that if you are looking for a new album, you need to buy this. It is the best I have heard in a long time.

I was listening to this album yesterday in my car and I was just thinking, “Holy F*#@ing S#%*!” I wept-actually wept -because of how absolutely brilliant this collection of songs are. I did not cry because I was sad in any way. On the contrary, I cried because, at a young age of 23, Nelly Furtado managed to capture exuberance.

I’ve always loved Nelly Furtado and thought she was a great artist, but this is genius. Listening to her last album, “Whoa, Nelly,” she would sound whiny from time to time but, being pregnant during writing and recording of this record, her voice is more deeper, richer, and fuller. I love the last album to pieces, but it was weird and went all over the place. This album, however, crosses and redefines genres and does so in an oddly cohesive way.

The album is called “Folklore” because of her use of folk music. She uses folk music from all over the world to great effect. You can hear a Spanish guitar in the same song with a mandolin, sitar, Hawaiian mini-guitar, the Kronos Quartet, and even a banjo. This is all on the opening track “One Trick Pony.”

The last album didn’t have a lot of banjo, but here, it is used very compellingly. For instance, in the song “Forca,” which was written to be a soccer anthem for the Portuguese Federation of Soccer, Bela Fleck is prominently featured on the banjo. Also, the song is a play on words since the title means, “kick ass” and the song is about soccer.

Also good is how all the instruments are put together, sounding like an urban symphony. She really puts it all together and makes it work. Lyrically, she is able to mix the sorrow with the joy. She is willing to tell a story or frankly talk about herself.

About her new music, Furtado said,”My first album I was very aware of how I didn’t want to tour with a somber record. Therefore, I recorded a happy, energetic record on purpose, because I didn’t think that I was strong enough to stand behind melancholic songs on stage. I just wanted to share goodness and positivity and bright colors with the world. Now, I’m stepping back and understanding that I can do both; I can be positive and yet raw and real at the same time. In the past I’ve hidden behind a lot of metaphors. There’s always a veil in front of that. Now it’s like, whoa, whoa, there’s nothing to hide behind. I’m far more comfortable in my skin, I suppose.”

This is my favorite album of the year and I suggest any fan of music get it. This album has no faults, it really is perfect. It is full of life, joy, vigor, zest, and vitality.