Single Review: Nelly Furtado “Try”

Year: 2004
Album: Folklore

An urban landscape is seen upon visiting Nelly Furtado’s website. A man can be seen playing a guitar, another man is listening to his boombox, and yet another man is breakdancing on the dock. The colors are bright and the music brings to a mind a bustling city full of vibrant and creative people. It’s a wonderful music-oriented site that lets the readers discover where the information is.

However, a brilliant website cannot buy sales. But it’s an indication of that Furtado isn’t the average pop star, either. “Try,” is her second single from her new album, which she sings about people’s high expectations of her. A thumping heartbeat, symbolizing the doubt and panic she is feeling, begins the single. In the first verse, she starts by admitting she doesn’t always learn from her mistakes and has gone through a lot in her life (“but the more I grow the less I know/and I have lived so many lives/though I’m not old”) However, in the chorus she senses that people are disappointed in her but admits she can only try.

In the second verse, she is regretful of the things she has seen (“I wish I hadn’t seen/all of the realness”) And in the single only’s problem, the next lyric is not as fleshed out as the others. (“And all the real people aren’t real at all.”) It would have the emotional impact intended if she chose another adjective. She is also disillusioned, as her life hasn’t turned out the way she thought it would (“as I say goodbye/to way of life I thought I had designed for me.”) The third verse explores the relationship she has with her boyfriend. And it seems to be to be the only thing she actually believes in (“we are free in our love.”) Although it’s the only hopeful verse she has sung, there is still that cynicism underneath it.

The music is sparse in the first verse. It’s only Furtado and a guitar strumming in the background. Piano and strings are then added into the chorus. After the second verse, the strings seem to be destined to make the single melodramatic. But some scratches can be heard, which blend with the strings and create a jarring, imperfect mood.

Furtado’s voice has improved immensely The nasal vocals are gone and are replaced with richer, deeper tone. She also is singing with emotion and ambiguity. Towards the end of the song, she turns “we are free in our love” into a rallying cry. It’s not the usual belting. Instead, it’s a declaration.


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