If you’ve heard Pipe Dreams, you’ll know that this ain’t the Nelly Furtado you think you know. Not just the cover that seems to be an ode to Julie Hesmondhalgh, but more in that there are no Timbaland cuts, no birds, and more than a bit of influence from her recent dalliance with Dev Hynes.
But that influence seems to include a lot of his flaws too. The Ride certainly is a bit of a trip, but it’s executed with such calculation that it takes all the fun and spontaneity out of the journey. Songs are crafted with precision but – like Hynes – for the most part you won’t remember them or sing along later.
After the opening trio of cold pop numbers, it takes Live for the album to properly come alive as Furtado finally lets herself go in the chorus. It’s a shame the rest of the song doesn’t match that level or fervour, saddling the one loose moment with a weight it doesn’t need.
In an odd way, Furtado feels quite cloistered on this record. Her voice is pleasant enough, but it also makes us wonder whether we accept a higher standard now and if she was actually that good in the first place. A shame – for someone who sang about being like a bird, she suddenly feels disappointingly caged.