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Nelly Furtado

Loose (Geffen)

These days, few performers are capable of crafting long-lasting careers -- but producers like Tim "Timbaland" Mosley are another story. More than a decade after emerging from the wilds of Virginia, Timbaland is as in-demand as ever, and his work on the unexpectedly pleasurable Loose ensures that his cell phone will keep spitting ring tones from potential clients for the foreseeable future.

Nelly Furtado's first disc, 2000's Whoa, Nelly!, marked her as a better-than-average acoustic chanteuse, but one who could easily slip into Jack Johnson-like inconsequentiality without careful minding. Timbaland saves her from this fate via an infusion of hip-hop and soul values that work as well on radio-friendly material like "Promiscuous," the irresistible lead single/Verizon commercial, as they do on "Showtime," a piece more in keeping with her earlier stuff, but with a more complex backing track.

Fans of the early Furtado may balk at the likes of "Maneater," a goofy dance track powered by Devolutionary synths. Others will be grateful for aural improvements courtesy of a production star who just keeps glowing.

 
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