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Album Review

Nelly Furtado, 'Mi Plan'

September 14, 2009

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Latin
Nelly Furtado Mi Plan
Universal Latino
ESSENTIAL “Sueños’’

Beginning with her 2000 debut, Nelly Furtado has seemed like a restless spirit. On “Mi Plan,’’ her new record, the star leaves Timbaland behind to count his money and creates an all-Spanish-language disc. It sounds like commercial suicide, but it’s actually a savvy move as the Portuguese-Canadian artist is clearly going to find a new audience. Aesthetically, this works as Furtado bridges pop sensibilities with Latin music. Of course, it’s a song cycle about love and she sings about deep passion on “Más’’ (“I want to ask for more of your heart/ More of your emotion/ More of your body’’) as well as the simple joy love can bring on the title track (“Being happy is my only plan’’). Her duets with Alejandro Fernandez (the gentle, lovely “Sueños’’) and Josh Groban (“Silencio’’) bring out the purity in Furtado’s vocals and are some of her most relaxed performances. The album also shows that she doesn’t need all the bells and whistles of pop production. The music here is lush or spare when necessary. More singing in this context makes her shine more brightly (even if it may not make the cash register ring as quickly). The best songs are understated (“Como Lluvia’’ with Juan Luis Guerra is a standout), but the upbeat tracks aimed at club remixes (“Fantasmas’’) also achieve liftoff. Obviously, Furtado had a plan and executed it well. (Out tomorrow)

KEN CAPOBIANCO