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Music that Inspires Me: Folklore

From July 19, 2012

So, this "music that inspires me" thing is turning into a series, I'm finding. Every once in a while I find myself drawn to a musician or record and feel the need to create. As I was browsing through my music library this evening, I came across an album that I hadn't listened to in months and instantly felt drawn to it. Now, this line here -> | is where any judgement stops, okay? The album I refer to is the commercial failure Folklore by Nelly Furtado.

I know, I know, Nelly Furtado's music is really poppy nowadays and not to mention that she sold out with her album "Loose," but I recall the simpler days when her music was original and had an exotic flare to it. In fact, I'm willing to state before a jury of my peers that Folklore is on my top 10 best albums list. I remember hearing the record's second single, "Try", on the radio back in 2003 (waaay back in 2003) and being instantly impressed with it.

Since iTunes didn't exist back then (or barely existed, but who knows), I went to the store and bought a copy of the disc. I think that Folklore was one of the first albums that I ever got absorbed into. In fact, the more I listened to it, the more I liked it. Why? Lyrically speaking, it's a strong album and if you can write great lyrics, I'm an instant fan. This reason is why I'm drawn to such strong songwriters as Imogen Heap, Alanis Morissette (yes, of Jagged Little Pill fame), and Rachael Yamagata, just to name a few.

So, what do I find inspiring about this particular album? Well, the lyrics to "Try" drew me at first. When I heard her heart singing out...

"Then I see you standing there wanting more from me, and all I can do is try. Then I see you standing there; I'm all I'll ever be and all I can do is try"

...I think I melted. At the tender age of 18, I was trying hard to find out who I was and I was trying SO hard to be whatever it is I thought I was supposed to be. So, yeah, these lyrics were pretty powerful to me at that time. Upon listening to all of Folklore, I was drawn into other songs like "Explode", "Build You Up", and "Forca". And if you listen closely, on the track "Island of Wonder" she says...

"And the smile is bigger than the Atlantic sea; it happens to bring out the Atlantis in me."

Yes, you read it right. Probably the only songwriter to ever reference Atlantis as a metaphor (I'm guessing here). At the release party for Eyes in Atlantis, I actually had this song on the playlist.

It's well written albums/songs like this that provide the stimulating fodder for me to be creative. Without my music library, you guys wouldn't get anything from me. By the way, if you find that you like Folklore, check out her debut album Whoa, Nelly! which also features some well written songs (my favorite is "Shit on the Radio").


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