After a lengthy hiatus (understatement of the century), Nelly Furtado made a polarizing return earlier this year with the bold “Big Hoops”, an eclectic explosion of hip-hop and drum & bass that played like a 2012 version of her career-defining Loose album. Despite receiving critical-acclaim, it was a total no-brainer when the urban banger flopped in today’s electro-soaked musical climate, but that doesn’t seem to have deterred Nelly one bit. The Canadian diva is pushing her urban sound again with her new single “Spirit Indestructible”, but this time around, she’s completely missed the mark.
Over an outdated Darkchild beat (that once again recalls Loose era Timbaland) and synth splashes that sound like they were plucked straight off of an old Jazze Pha record, Nelly serves up a big fat serving of self-empowerment with a shrill delivery that’s guaranteed to hurt your ears if you turn the volume dial too high.
After a rough start, “Spirit Indestructible” improves dramatically at the 1:50 mark, when Darkchild throws in some more interesting beats, Nelly starts howling about being unbreakable, and some awesome guitar strumming makes a welcome entrance, but it’s still not enough to save the song.
I can’t possibly think of a song title that sounds more Nelly Furtado-ish than “Spirit Indestructible”, and the magic of Nelly is that she can make a pop song about indestructible spirits sound beautiful, when in the hands of her frivolous contemporaries it’d turn into pure cheese. Unfortunately, there’s not much use in having stunning lyrics when everything else, from the production to the vocals, is severely lacking.
Being the staunch Nelly Furtado stan that I am, I’ve been playing “Spirit Indestructible” on repeat and waiting for it to click, but not much is happening. The only thing I can come up with is that it’d make a passable album cut, but in terms of a second single — what the hell is Nelly thinking?! If the brilliant “Big Hoops” didn’t work out, then “Spirit Indestructible” has about a snowball’s chance in hell. I can’t imagine any major label in their right mind voluntarily pushing this as a single right now, so my guess is that Nelly put her foot down and insisted on its release because she’s got a personal connection with the song and wants to inspire people with its empowering message.
Bad move, Nelly.