Single Review: Nelly Furtado “…On The Radio (Remember The Days)”

…On The Radio (Remember The Days)
Album: Whoa, Nelly!
Year: 2001

With the final single from her album Whoa, Nelly!, Nelly Furtado discusses selling out. A complex issue to sing about in less than five minutes, but Furtado manages to get the major points in. However, she is not whiny or bitter. Nor is she smug or holier-than-thou about the issue. She maintains a direct and honest approach to it.

In the single, it seems as though she is speaking to a mentor who failed her. In the first verse, she is addressing the mentor by singing: “you liked me till’ you heard my shit on the radio/
Well I hate to say but pop aint’ going solo/You liked me till’ you heard my shit on the radio/But now I’m just too mainstream for you, oh no.” However, she also brings up another point about indie vs. mainstream music. Going to a major label, getting a deal, and making a record is normally thought of as selling out. But in her defense, Furtado’s not really completely mainstream. She experiments and plays around with sounds. She does not sound as though she came out of the MTV machine, even though her music is being sold on the television.

In the chorus, she is telling her mentor “I remember the days when I was so eager to satisfy you/And be less than I was just prove I could walk beside you/Now that I’ve flown away/I see you’ve chosen to stay behind me/And you still curse the day I decided to stay true to myself.” Some people rather discourage others of their dreams simply because they do not think they have what it takes. No matter what you say, those people will continually put you down. It’s one thing when it’s a peer. A peer’s comment can be brushed off. It’s quite another when it’s an adult (like a teacher.) It legitmatizes the put-downs due to the person being an authority figure. Good for Nelly for telling the person off and following her heart.

In the second verse, she tells her former mentor that they are not doing much to “bring it higher.” She sees through the person’s words and knows that the person really wants a record deal and to be popular, too. In the bridge, she talks about my personal favorite part of the indie vs. mainstream debate. For instance, just because it’s indie, it’s automatically better than what’s on the radio. She sings, “It’s so much easier to stay down there guaranteeing you’re cool/
Than to sit up here exposing myself trying to break through.” Some of that indie stuff is downright horrible. Tuneless and without a melody, it’s like listening to car alarms for entertainment.

The music itelf is diverse. She uses elements of hip-hop, pop, and rock. Record scratches are played comfortably next to acoustic guitars.


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