Thursday, January 12th, 2017

Nelly Furtado – Pipe Dreams

Pipe (organ) dreams?

Juana Giaimo: I read a comment in Spanish on the the YouTube video of “Pipe Dreams” in which the writer said that he loved when “sellers of platinum and pop products start making music from the heart,” as if all that Nelly Furtado did before was useless and didn’t have any influence in her current music. As if the fact that “Pipe Dreams” was first shared by Pitchfork meant that she is now a “serious” artist. What this user couldn’t undertand is that Nelly Furtado has always been a tireless artist that has been exploring different territories — she even did an album in Spanish! It was only a matter of time before she tried a hazy song in which her voice sounds in peace, willing to observe reality as it is and continue its own without watching back.

Maxwell Cavaseno: Seeming wistful but purposefully hedged, “Pipe Dreams” doesn’t sound like an act of commitment nearly as much as an attempt at dignified resignation. The woozy production gives the feeling of drifting, no sense of assurance or comfort even when there’s nothing wrong. Its a pretty good soundtrack for people looking at the world around them, the people in their life, and trying to move forward with more of an “I guess…” than a “Let’s do it!”. Can’t say I blame her in these uncertain times.

Ryo Miyauchi: While that organ and brass would fit well for a lively entrance, Nelly Furtado throws one low key celebration for her return. I’d say she doesn’t have to undersell herself and aim more for the stars because she deserve more of a show, but she’s rocking to the beat so free and (uh) loose, I’ll just let her feel herself on this one.

Alfred Soto: I had to step outside for air — a Nelly Furtado track with drums, hi-hats, and prominent organ? A showcase for her wispiest, most careful singing, “Pipe Dreams” has shades of the Natalie Imbruglia songs that never crossed over to these shores. Replace the organ with shred guitar and we might’ve had St. Vincent. In other words, she’s got a marketing challenge.

Dorian Sinclair: “Pipe Dreams” feels like quintessential background music — it meanders for quite a while without seeming to be headed anywhere in particular. The most interesting part for me is the weird drips and echoes present in the mix, but those peter out around the halfway point without providing any payoff.

Olivia Rafferty: I’m still to be completely sold on Nelly Furtado’s new sound, but I am so in love with the introspection she’s delivering in these new releases. “Islands of Me” was a look at personality through a fractured lens, with past selves running ongoing timelines next to present ones. “Pipe Dreams” is then turning this introspective look outward, as she asks for a life with reality and agency, not one where she is lulled into passivity through the false hope that everything is going just fine. It’s a subverting take on the rose-tinted-glasses idea — it’s okay if you can’t see the good in everything, that just means that you’re experiencing life in it’s fullest and most honest form. “I wanna live in a kaleidoscope,” she sings, and at first this line sounds like it sits at odds with the rest of the song, where Furtado pleads to “feel the good and vile in everything.” Kaleidoscopes are instruments of illusion, aren’t they? But in the context of this song, the kaleidoscope is seen as a tool that shows you everything that stands before you, an amalgamation of reflections, good and bad. The wonderful part is, despite an exhausting look at absolutely everything before you, it’s kinda pretty. Understand that the bad days and the good days are just an experience of the full spectrum of life, and that all together it makes for a beautiful arrangement. I think I just found my new mantra for 2017: “I wanna live in a kaleidoscope.”

Claire Biddles: The slow and surprising progression from a fairly standard synth-y ballad to a luscious, earthy soul jam is gorgeous.

Daisy Le Merrer: This is very much like an outtake from True-era Solange, and I could never have enough of that. A gospel song sung with a detached singer and whatever-wave prod, and then a big splash of organ takes it over but however much you try to sell your love Nelly and the beat are too prudent to let themselves go fully. There’s an unsung pain at the heart of the song that dwarfs any choir, bell or string you could have thrown at it.

Katherine St Asaph: PR and positioning swirl, concealing the truth: “Say It Right” was her wistful track. This is just soporific.

Will Adams: It sounds like a late track on Whoa, Nelly!, or maybe it’s just the lovely outro, a flurry of repeated lyrics and baseball organ, that’s so similar to that of “Hey Man.” It saves “Pipe Dreams” from its meandering first half, offering the tempered vigor I’d always loved of Furtado’s debut.

Anthony Easton: This is genuinely lovely, but it doesn’t strike me as very much on Nelly’s brand. She also doesn’t sell the ambivalence. The production could exist in some futuristic dental office, without her intervention and not lose much.

Reader average: [7.25] (4 votes)

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