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Review: Nelly Furtado has uber flavor on 'Spirit'

Nelly Furtado's been putting out an album every three years like clockwork since the turn of the century. Her newest release, "The Spirit Indestructible," is her first English record since 2006 (she went all-out Spanish on 2009's "Mi Plan"), and it's a welcome return from the Canadian songstress.

After the commercially successful collaboration with Timbaland on "Loose," Furtado turns mainly to producer Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins' deft hand for an eclectic sound. Her small voice emerges like a towering life force throughout the album, whose themes revolve around nostalgia and celebration of the human spirit.

The record evolves slowly from conventional sounds on the title track to more eerie tracks like "Something," to the Latin pulse-quickening vibes of "Waiting for the Night" and the languorous retro-like "Circles." The 33-year-old reminisces about her musical beginnings in "Parking Lot," finds her teenage strength on first single "Big Hoops (Bigger the Better)" and gets quasi-reflective on "High Life," the album's only misstep.

But the album's best tracks belong to the collaborations: Nas shines on the Salaam Remi-produced "Something," as does Sara Tavares on the diaphanous "The Most Beautiful Thing," another Remi production which adds a Middle Eastern tinge to the already worldly collection of songs. All one can say is: "Whoa, Nelly — here we go again."

CHECK OUT THIS TRACK: "Miracle" starts deceptively slow, but morphs into a hypnotizingly catchy beat.

Online:

http://www.nellyfurtado.com/default.aspx

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