Perhaps no other artist is as undeserving of fandom’s scorn than Nelly Furtado, whose third album, Loose, was considered by many devotees to be a commercialized betrayal of her debut, Whoa, Nelly!, and sophomore effort, Folklore. Never mind that Loose was the superior offering, what with its chunky beats and blatant-but-lively evocations of ‘80s Madonna (“Do It”), and with Timbaland at his most inspired on the stupidly fun “Promiscuous.” Furtado’s fourth album, Mi Plan, is a turn at Spanish-infused pop—a move that, ideally, should be effortless for Furtado, but manifests itself here in a labored and predictable fashion. While Mi Plan is by no means some excruciating disaster, it is heartless, with forced sincerity and awkward posturing uncharacteristic of Furtado’s previous work. The feathery-but-lifeless “Mas” can hardly make its lyrical sensitivity the least bit genuine, marching along in a cloudy stupor as Furtado’s rich voice becomes a mere afterthought. Likewise, the half-inspired title track suffers from a clumsy identity crisis, with listeners having to suffer through the unpleasant contrast of warm guitar plucks and the prickly spasms of Loose-like synths. By the time “Suficiente Tiempo” offers up its second-rate bounce n’ snap swagger, Furtado herself seems lost beneath Mi Plan‘s blanket of insipid sound.
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