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Get Your Flirt On

Nelly Furtado's new ho do

When I heard that Nelly Furtado flew to the top of the Billboard album charts with her third album, Loose, I knew it was official -- people like their pop stars to look like hoochies in clear heels. The CD sold 220,000 copies in its first week. The first single, "Promiscuous," is also No. 1 on the singles chart. The Canadian songstress, who fluttered into the American pop-music consciousness like an ethnic pixie with her 2000 debut album, the aptly titled Whoa, Nelly!, has finally caught that elusive jewel called success. And all she had to do to get it was look fuckable.

Yeah, she was cute when she first hit the scene, harmonizing, scatting and bouncing around like your little sister hopped up on Red Bull. But that was the problem, even though her album sold two million copies: She still had that kid-sister vibe. And no guy wants to fuck his little sister. When her mellow second album, Folklore, got released in 2003, she appeared even less attractive.

But now, with Loose, we have a different Furtado, a sexually aggressive Furtado, a Furtado you wouldn't mind rubbing one out to. Don't expect this Furtado to sing "I'm Like a Bird" or shit like that. We shouldn't even refer to her as Furtado anymore. Ladies and gents, it's now "Flirtado," a slender, sexually dangerous girl with a great ass who sings about being a slender, sexually dangerous girl with a great ass. The songs are factory-sealed dance-pop, concentrating more on attitude than range, each one ready to pull out and send into heavy rotation.

But being a person who admires talent first and sex appeal second (okay, I know that sounds full of shit, but just play along), this brand-new Furtado, sorry, Flirtado, doesn't sit well with me. How the hell can you go from looking like Buffy Sainte-Marie one year to Buffy the Vampire Slayer the next?

Seeing Furtado slink around with all the subtlety of a table dancer is a jarring sight, especially for those who remember her early performances. No backup dancers. No booty-hugging jeans. She performed armed with nothing but her voice and folksy confidence.

You might perceive this as the stuck-up ramblings of a rockist critic (whatever that means) who hates it when a musician abandons his or her principles and sells out to the mainstream. My first response to that is "So!?" My second response is "Don't you feel the same damn way?" I can't be the only one who cringes when an artist chucks it all in order to get that dolla-dolla-bill.

Of course, Furtado is insisting she's not tramping it up just to get into the mainstream. She calls it "maturing.""It's not about how big my audience is,'' she told Entertainment Weekly before Loose dropped. Ô'It's about having an audience that understands what I'm doing. I'm not faithful to one style -- I'm a musically promiscuous girl.''

Musically promiscuous? What the hell?

There's nothing wrong with venturing into different styles of music, or with being an eclectic performer who can transcend any genre. But when you switch up your whole game, trading your Birkenstocks for a pair of fuck-me pumps, one can't help but see the whole thing as cynical and suspect.

Unfortunately, I seem to be the only one taking umbrage with Furtado's new career direction. I've even heard a few of my colleagues giving props to her for going from "peace to a piece." ("She hasn't sold out -- she sold in!" was one blurb-worthy quote.) And the reviews for Loose have been pretty favorable. Kelefa Sanneh over at The New York Times wrote that "listeners who hear this CD as a straightforward bid for album sales are wrong...The music and the lyrics are mainly aimed at dance floors, and yet this album keeps reminding listeners that a dance floor is one of the most complicated places on earth."

Jesus.

The music industry has gotten so inundated with half-nekkid ladies skanking up the airwaves that having Furtado throw her lace bustier in the ring seems like overkill.

"Pop music is a lot like Halloween: It gives women an excuse to pretend they're sluts," one Village Voice critic recently wrote, referring to Furtado and her new MO. He also wrote that it's not our place to judge Furtado for sexing up her music and her appearance. That may be, but when you're a performer who's mostly known for looking like somebody's kid sister, and all of a sudden you're looking like a BET video ho, somebody should ask what the fuck happened.

Between the Cracks

It's our goal to cover as much of Houston's music scene as possible, so when we found out that the Houston Museum of Natural Science had a resident DJ, we had to talk to him. A museum DJ? What could he be spinning? Turns out 19-year-old Matthew Longoria plays Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon during the museum's video and laser show choreographed to the famous album, as well as more rock classics for a similar laser show, Rock Hall of Fame. There's a set list he has to play for each gig, but he does get to change it up a bit and -- here's the fun part -- he gets to introduce each tune with "Coming up next..." in a booming DJ voice.

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