2006 was one of the best years in modern pop music to date, from the unapologetic nature of Justin Timberlake's FutureSex/LoveSounds to Beyoncé's dance-ready B'Day. But in the midst of the big-name releases, the credit goes to Nelly Furtado's Loose for elevating the genre.
The Canadian singer's third studio album turned 10 years old this month, and we at Fuse decided to look back at record that solidified a sound of its time. Nelly challenged herself by fusing her already-loved folk/alternative pop sound with hip-hop/R&B, which helped her to break pop boundaries.
The new sound is credited to Timbaland, who utilized Nelly as the first step into dominating the pop world once again. So in celebration of Loose, get into our personalized ranking of the album!
1. "Say It Right"
Jeff: Ten years later and there's still something about this track that I can't put my finger on. Is the minimalistic-yet-somehow-warm production? Is it the impassioned inner dialogue making up the chorus? Is it Tim's heys? This track instantly pulled me on first listen and continues to mystify me today. It's so simple yet feels like a sonic world of wonder. Can't say enough about this song to be honest. Rating: 10/10
Bianca: The award for the most masterful production on Loose goes to “Say It Right.” It is otherworldly, haunting and refreshingly strays away from what was occurring in pop at the moment. I mean, there is a reason Jeff and I have it ranked so high! And do yourself a favor, bless your ears with Kaytranda’s impeccable remix of the tune (thank me later). Rating: 10/10
Bianca: Whenever you think of the Loose era, the first thing that comes to mind is “Promiscuous”—and for good reason! The first U.S. single off Loose was one of the most memorable tracks from 2006 because it wasn’t your average pop song. Nelly stepped out of her boundaries alongside Timbaland, and chose to speak—not sing—the whole track. From the flirty call-and-response conversational lyrics to the buzzing production, it embodies the carnal mystery we’ll all try to maintain while chatting with that special someone. Rating: 10/10
Jeff: Did you have friends who were upset about Nelly "changing" her sound with this track? I remember people were slamming her initially for rapping and such, but I totally understood this profession. That hypnotic, humming beat had an exotic flair to it and Nelly gave off this mysterious flair, both elements rooted in her past releases. It was one of the best singles of that year and rightfully led the way for a successful era. Rating: 9.5/10
3. "Do It"
Bianca: I’m a sucker for ‘80s dance music, and “Do It” pays homage to that classic era without making it sound too try-hard or dated. It’s the perfect song to jam out with your boo on the dance floor. Rating: 9/10
Jeff: She was ahead of the '80s trend with this, wasn't she? I always thought this was so uplifting and happy, and just a straight-up jaaaam. There's the cute little "Someone needs to rap off, in, off the top!" spoken intro and I remember wondering what rapper she would inevitably put on a remix...and then she chose Missy Elliott to make this song even more perfect. Rating: 9/10
Bianca: The opening track is meant to set the tone of an album, and “Afraid” was an entrance into Nelly’s new explorational world of hip-hop, R&B and pure pop. And introspective lyric like "You're so afraid of what people might say / But that's okay you'll soon get strong enough” will always be relatable, whether you’re a high schooler or an adult searching for purpose. Rating: 7/10
Jeff: I loved this as the album's intro! It's not single material, but it's hot and draws you into this alluring new side to Nelly Furtado. Tim threw in some interesting effects on her voice, but the message continues the independent, free concepts of her first two albums. The lyrics are a tiny bit cheesy (sorry, Bi), but I'll say they were extremely comforting to my high school self. Shout-out to that kids' chorus at the end. Ranking: 8.5/10
5. "No Hay Igual"
Jeff: Like what is that beat? This is so fun and I loved that she seamlessly mixed in a song that is nearly all in Spanish into this pop record. It was giving a nod to reggaeton without going into Daddy Yankee (remember him?) territory and it was done so well. Ranking: 7/10
Bianca: Talk about a BOP! “No Hay Igual” is the optimal definition of the word, and it’s one of the most fun songs on the record. It’s a musical melting pot of Spanish & Portuguese flavors, mixed in with a touch of booty-shaking reggaeton. Who wouldn’t love that? Ranking: 7/10
6. "All Good Things (Come to an End)"
Bianca: I know it’s a loved song by many (it was a successful single, after all), but it never roused me emotionally. Instead, it gets routinely skipped. Maybe I just have a heart of stone. Ranking: 5/10
Jeff: Yeah, I'm going with that to explain your abysmal rating of this track. I think it's so special and still intrigues me to this day. The production is so emotional and impassioned with the layering of vocals (which would come to be a staple in Timbaland productions for this era of his career), and I still don't know what she's singing about on the bridge, making it all the more intriguing. This is one of my favorites and continues to move me to this day. Ranking: 9/10
Jeff: On first listen, "Showtime" was one of my favorites—it had a real calming mood and it was very comforting. But the more I grew with this album, it ended becoming one of the lessors compared to the others. Still have a soft spot for it though. Rating: 6.5/10
Bianca: One of the fun elements of Loose is Nelly’s genre flexibility. “Showtime” finds her trying out a R&B slow jam, and while it’s not the most riveting songs, it’s still notable that she tried something completely out of her element. Rating: 6/10
Jeff: Alright I know this is going to be controversial, but here we go: I think "Maneater" is the weakest track on the album. I really never understood its appeal. Vocally, she sounds rather whiny on the track and this subject matter kind of came out of left field—like why is Nelly calling out this chick?! Also that beat is hardly fresh. I was so happy it never took off in America! *hiding eyes monkey emoji* Rating: 2/10
Bianca: I’m honestly appalled that Jeff has the AUDACITY to rank this awesome single so low! “Maneater” is the beauty that happens when producers experiment with bending the pop rules. Timbaland fused ‘80s-inspired synths with hard-hitting hip-hop beats to create an undeniable stomper that makes women instantly feel themselves whenever it comes on in the club. The lyrical reminder that most men are disposable doesn’t hurt either! Rating: 8/10
Bianca: As much as Loose is a standout album, there are tracks that don’t hold up to its overall excitement. Case in point? “Glow.” It’s one of those throwaway songs that you’ll probably forget about after a second listen. Rating: 5.5/10
Jeff: I actually didn't remember this song when we decided we were going to revisit Loose, but once I put it on I remembered how much of a bop it is! I love the fuzzy production on it and it's an essential track to keep the LP moving. Rating: 7/10
10. "Wait for You"
Jeff: The beat is classic Timbo and the chorus has a juicy melody, but I never felt the need for this track. I'm happy it exists, but I certainly don't run back to it. Rating: 5/10
Bianca: This song is just meh for me because while it’s a new sound for Nelly, Timbaland has been making beats around exotic instruments for years. This time it’s the Turkish bağlama. So been there, heard that. Rating: 4/10
11. "Te Busque" featuring Juanes
Jeff: There's nothing wrong with this track—I'm always here for Juanes—but I think it was meant to be a Latin-influenced ballad and it successfully does that. I do love the chorus and how they glide over that rollercoaster of a melody. Rating: 4/10
Bianca: It’s a shame this song doesn’t move me, because it is reportedly about Nelly’s bouts with depression. While the mental disorder is a serious thing that shouldn’t be overlooked, the track doesn’t evoke enough emotion to make it tangible. Rating: 4/10
12. "In God’s Hands"
Bianca: I’m not a fan of sappy ballads, and this one is just plain boring. Don’t have much to say about “In God’s Hands,” it just doesn’t move me. Ranking: 3/10
Jeff: This was your least favorite, but I think it's quite a nice track. It's a soft, comforting ballad and definitely brings a new element to Loose's sonic landscape. It's not a knockout, but I also don't think it's the worst on the album despite its ranking here. (Yeah, I'm still looking at you "Maneater.") Ranking: 5/10