Our Top 10 Nelly Furtado Songs takes a look at one of the most successful female Canadian singers from the 90’s to present. Nelly Furtado was born Nelly Kim Furtado on December 2, 1978. She has sold over 40 million records in her career. She has won numerous awards for her albums. She signed with Dreamworks Records in 1999. She released her first single “Party’s Just Begun Again” for the soundtrack to Brokedown Palace. This single came out just before the release of her debut album.
Furtado released her first album Whoa, Nelly! in 2000. The album peaked at number 24 on the Billboard 200 charts. The album was critically acclaimed. She mixed different genres of music for this album. The songs were a combination of pop, rock, folk, r&b, hip hop and trip hop. It features the hit singles “I’m Like a Bird,” “Turn Off the Lights,” “On the Radio (Remember the Days)” and “Hey, Man!” The album spent an amazing 78 weeks on the charts. The album went on to sell more than five million copies. She had a fan in record producer Timbaland. This would be important for her career later on. She released collaboration singles with different artists before her second album was released.
She released her second album Folklore in 2003. This album didn’t match the success of her debut album. The album was successful in European countries. It peaked at number 38 on the Billboard 200 charts. It sold over 68,000 copies in its first week. It spent 11 weeks on the charts. She changed her style of music for this project. This album wasn’t as pop friendly as her debut album. This album was more about honoring her heritage. It features the singles ‘Powerless (Say What You Want),” “Try,” “Forca,” “Explode” and “The Grass Is Green.” The album went on to sell more than two million copies.
After Dreamworks Records folded up, she signed with Geffen Records and Mosley Music Group. She released her third album Loose in 2006. She was under pressure to have a hit album because Folklore under performed on the charts. She worked with record producer Timbaland on this project and it turned out to be a good decision. The album was a commercial success. The album debuted at number one. It sold 219,000 copies in its first week on the charts. It was her first album to debut at number one. It features the singles “No Hay-igual,” “Promiscuous,” “Maneater,” “Say It Right,” “All Good Things (Come to an End),” “Te Busque,” “Do It” and “In God’s Hands.” The album went on to sell over 12 million copies.
Furtado ended up changing labels again. She formed her own record label Nelstar. She released her fourth album Mi Plan in 2009. This was an independent album. This was a Spanish album. The critics loved it. The album peaked at number one on the Latin charts. It features the singles “Manos al aire,” “Mas” and “Bajo Otra Luz.” She won a Grammy award for this project. This was the highest selling Latin pop album in 2009. The album sold over 100,000 copies. She released a greatest hits album called The Best of Nelly Furtado in 2010. It features her biggest hits as well as three new songs. It features the single “Night Is Young.” The album sold over 100,000 copies.
She released her fifth album The Spirit Indestructible in 2012. She worked with Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins on this project. The album peaked at number 79 on the Billboard charts. The album did better overseas. It features the singles “Big Hoops (Bigger The Better),” “Spirit Indestructible,” “Parking Lot” and “Waiting for the Night.”
Her sixth album The Ride was released in 2017. This was her second independent album. The album reached 76 in Canada. It didn’t chart in the U.S. or the U.K. This is her first album not to chart in the U.S. It managed to peak at number 25 on the Independent charts. The album sold 1,814 copies in its first week in the U.S. It features the singles “Pipe Down,” “Cold Hard Truth” and “Sticks and Stones.”
Nelly Furtado doesn’t have that many albums, but she did have an impact on music. She found success in the United States, Canada as well as other countries. Her songs were successful enough that she became one of the best selling Canadian artists. She’s in good company with other successful female Canadian artists such as Celine Dion, Alanis Morissette, Shania Twain, and Avril Lavigne who manage to have crossover appeal. This Top 10 Nelly Furtado Songs list will feature her hit songs. Which one do you think will be number one on our list?
# 10 – On the Radio (Remember the Days)
The first song on our Top 10 Nelly Furtado Songs list is the underrated “On The Radio (Remember the Days) from the impressive Whoa, Nelly! album. This up-tempo song has a pop and dance sound. This anthemic song is about her insecurities. She is letting the world know that she should be allowed to be herself instead of being like everyone else. This song has a good message that could be about friendships, relationships or careers. It’s relatable to anyone who feels as if they have to prove themselves to other people.
The music has beat changes throughout the song. It’s fast one minute and slows down the next. The music will make you get up on the dance floor. Here is some trivia. The song originally had profanity in it. In fact, the title of the song had profanity in it. She changed the title to make it more radio friendly. Furtado’s voice is pretty in this song. She utilizes her soprano voice. It blends really well with the music. She has good timing with the start stop of the music.
# 9 – Do It
The next song on our Top 10 Nelly Furtado Songs list is the suggestive “Do It from the hugely successful Loose album. This up-tempo song has a dance pop sound. This seductive song is about her having sex with someone. The music has an 80’s vibe to it. It’s a good song to dance to. The keyboards and drums are the main attraction. Furtado sounds different on this track. She sounds more like Madonna than herself. This song sounds like something Madonna would have done herself. Furtado shows versatility in the song by singing in a higher octave. She even attempts to hold little notes towards the end of the song. This song surprisingly did better overseas than it did in the United States. This song sounds radio friendly so it was a surprise that it didn’t do well in the U.S.
# 8 – In God’s Hands
This touching song is another song from the Loose album. This ballad has a pop and adult contemporary sound. This moving song is about a break up. You can easily be misled by the title of the song. The title makes the song sound religious. It’s actually about her finding ways to move on with her life after breaking up with the one she loved. The lyrics of the song can give people hope that your life can get better despite what you may think. This song is on an album with bigger hits so it tends to get overshadowed. It’s actually a really good song with deep and meaningful lyrics. The music is soothing and melodic. Furtado’s voice sounds pretty with the music. Her soprano tone blended well with the soft music. She doesn’t hold any notes, but it’s simple and elegant without being over the top.
# 7 – Powerless (Say What You Want)
This empowering song is from the Folklore album. This up-tempo song has a dance and folk sound. This anthemic song is about her being discriminated against. Her record label wanted her to look a certain way and she wanted to express her feelings about it. This song can be an anthem for people who have faced discrimination and felt they had to hide their identity. Despite the deep message, the music is catchy and infectious. The African percussion and the banjo produced quite a sound. The music will have you bopping your head to the beat. She sounds good in the song, but the music does take away from her voice. The music is louder than she is. With that said, her vocals are impeccable. She sounds a little like Alanis Morissette. She shows versatility because she sings in a falsetto towards the end of the song.
# 6 – Turn Off the Light
This independent song is from the Whoa, Nelly! album. This midtempo song has a reggae and rock song. This quirky song is about her finding her independence and letting the world know that she doesn’t need anyone, but when she’s alone, she wants someone to be there for her. She’s being confident in public and vulnerable in private. This song is relatable to anyone in a similar situation. It was nice touch that she added funky and cool music with the vulnerable lyrics. The lyrics may be a little depressing to some people, but the music may take your mind off of the sad lyrics. Furtado proved that she could sing reggae music. She sings the song in a reggae and hip-hop style. Her vocals are layered because she uses a lower register as well as a higher register throughout the song.
# 5 – Give It To Me ft Timbaland and Justin Timberlake
This diss song is from Timbaland’s Shock Value album. This up-tempo song has an electro and hip-hop sound. This introspective song is about a rivalry between two mega producers. Here is some trivia about the song. Timbaland and Timberlake are singing the song about their personal rivalries behind the scenes. Timbaland was in a rivalry with producer Scott Storch. It was rumored that Timberlake was dissing Prince in his lyrics. The music is intoxicating and mesmerizing. It will stay in your head long after you hear the music. The music is perfect for the club scene. The song will hook you as soon as you hear the tribal beat. Furtado’s voice is hypnotic. She sounds like a combination of Madonna and Gwen Stefani. She is rhyming about her looks for the Loose album. She does a really good job with her rhymes. Timbaland and Timberlake do a good job in their parts. They show a lot of confidence while they are insulting their rivals. The song is addicting and is one of the album’s best songs.
# 4 – Say It Right
The next song on our Top 10 Nelly Furtado Songs list is the dimensional “Say It Right” from the Loose album. This up-tempo song has a pop sound. This mysterious song is about mystical experiences. Here is some trivia about the song. Furtado wanted the song to sound like something the Eurythmics would sing. The music is infectious. It has a throwback feel to it. The hard drumbeat is thumping and sells the music. The music is hypnotic. It has a futuristic feel with the inclusion of the spooky keyboards. This is the perfect song for radio because of the phenomenal beat. She sounds amazing in the song. She sings in time with all of the beat changes. She sounds similar to Gwen Stefani. In fact, this sounds like something Stefani would sing. Furtado’s vocals are layered in the hook because she uses a double.
# 3 – Like A Bird
This metaphoric song is from the Whoa, Nelly! album. This midtempo song has a pop sound. This emotional song is about her being a free spirit that won’t be held back. It’s a metaphor for freedom in life. It may appear like a love song, but it’s actually about her being free in life. The lyrics are easy to sing along to. This is the song that made her a star. This is her first big hit song. It’s easy to see why it was a hit for her. It’s hard to believe that it was her first single because she sounds as if she’s been in the business for a long time. Her vocals are sophisticated and smooth. She sings the song in two different pitches. She sings the verses in a lower register while she sings the hook in an upper register. She sounds similar to Corinne Bailey Ray. She does an amazing job with the lyrics.
# 2 – Promiscuous ft Timbaland
This sexually charged song is from the Loose album. This up-tempo song has an electro pop, dance pop and hip-hop sound. This seductive song is about a couple who meet and are attracted to each other. She doesn’t want him to think she’s easy. The lyrics are different because they tell a story about a boy meeting a girl and they build up to a sexual relationship. Here is some trivia about the song. Timbaland wanted Furtado to be out of her comfort zone when she did this song. Also, Furtado received backlash for this song because people thought she was being loose when she did this song.
Furtado tries her hand at rapping in the verses. This isn’t new for Timbaland since he’s a rapper, but it was new for her. She proved that she could rap as well as sing. She’s not as good as Timbaland, but that’s to be expected because she’s not a rapper. She does a great job singing the catchy chorus. Timbaland is out of his comfort zone as well because he sings as well as raps in the song. He showed that he isn’t a bad singer. Furtado and Timbaland were a great match in this song.
# 1 – Maneater
The number one song on our Top 10 Nelly Furtado Songs list is the sassy “Maneater” from the Loose album. This up-tempo song has an electro pop sound. This heartbreaker is about her taking advantage of men and breaking their hearts. This song is similar to Hall and Oates version. The music cleverly combines rock synths with a dance beat. The music is tight and bumping. It will have you moving around in your seat or on the dance floor. The chorus is incredible and melodic. She sounds commanding and wants the world to take notice of her. She sings in time with the music. She sings the song in a lower register. She uses a double in the hook that is truly amazing. The song is an earworm because it will stay in your head long after it is done. It is one of the best songs on the album. The only minor complaint is that she is a little hard to understand. Other than that, this song is fire.
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