Nelly Furtado dominated the charts in the early 00’s with her infectious RNB Pop that was most likely the soundtrack to your childhood/early adulthood. And let’s not lie, you still know every word to “Maneater” and “I’m Like A Bird”. It’s been 5 years since she has released new music and now that she’s under a new label she has decided to experiment with a rhythmic rock and folk inspired pop sound. “The Ride” is the rebirth of Nelly Furtado and this organic sound may be a shock at first to the unexpecting ear but you can truly hear the passion in her voice and you cannot help but fall in love with it. Opening with the aggressive “Cold Hard Truth” and “Flatline” she confirms that this is going to be a very different album compared to her previous Spanish influenced RNB/pop. These uptempo rock influenced tracks let out the anger over old flames and deliver smooth hooks that will instantly get stuck in your head. It transitions into the folk inspired “Carnival Games” and “Live’” that has a strong RNB beat driving them and unveils a softer side of her vocals with accompanying reflecting lyrics. Introducing synths on “Sticks And Stones”, “Magic”, and “Palaces” she offers a bad ass sound that draws comparisons to MSMR. She unleashes some anger and reflective thoughts while delivering you big singalong moments. She tones it down with “Pipe Dreams” and “Tap Dancing” offering beautiful vocals before leading into the angelic album closer “Phoenix” which perfectly ties this whole album together. It’s a moment of pure reflection and reassurance. For a comeback album this is the carthatic moment you needed from her. However some of the experimentation doesn’t work with “Paris Sun” and “Right Road” feeling out of place and lost amongst the other dominating tracks.
The album isn’t going to be for everyone but this is truly an album for music lovers that love hearing artists push boundaries and find themselves after years of being stuck in the machine. Nelly Furtado may not be the same artist as the one you were familiar with but that isn’t a bad thing. She’s grown, experimented and delivered an epic “phoenix rising from the ashes” type of record.