Nelly Furtado Whoa, Nelly!

They say that there's safety in numbers, and the people trying to convince the world that Winnipeg's Nelly Furtado is someone worth listening to really do believe that. The press release mentions about 30 different artists who have had an influence on her music (ranging from Beck to Cornershop to Simon & Garfunkel to Paula Abdul...), and then adds such sweeping inspirations as the music of Brazil, Africa and Portugal. It seems like almost half the planet has had an effect on her. People with such diverse influences don't come along every day, and if she manages to combine it into something coherent and listenable, even better. And she does. Whoa Nelly! is a pop record that does have an eclectic sound, yet remains accessible. The album as a whole is very similar in spirit to Lauren Hill's solo debut - a rich, funky tapestry with that much needed mass appeal. At times there is way too much going on, with scratching added on top of everything else, which makes the music sound cluttered. Most people will happily overlook this, though, and embrace this as the next big thing. Give it six months and you'll be completely sick of her. (Dreamworks)