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Furtadofest: Maneater, 2006

June 21st, 2012 by | Tags:

The video for Nelly Furtado’s “Maneater” is basically a back-alley warehouse orgy masterminded by a queen who dominates everyone else with her very presence. The warehouse is set up as this very dangerous place, the type of place an innocent lil lady like Nelly Furtado shouldn’t visit at night. But, like Michael Jackson, whose videos often portrayed dancing as rebellion or violence, Furtado can move, and that means she rules the roost.

That bit in the first verse, the “I wanna see you all on your knees, knees/ either wanna be with me or you wanna be me”? I love that. Her delivery in this song is so plastic that it comes off as the most “Call me Queen, worm” thing ever, especially when combined with her vaguely zombie-esque dance moves. I love how it instantly creates a story, too, because suddenly the warehouse orgy turns from subtext to text. Everyone in there is on their knees, and they all want her in one way or another. She’s the queen bee.

Those two lines front-loads the sex oozing out of the video, too. The only person that’s alone in this video is Furtado. Everyone else is confined (ooh!) in some way or gyrating against someone else (oh my!). It’s a very intimate video, the sort that makes you think about sex without just focusing on somebody’s boobs or butt.

I honestly can’t think of a more appropriate video for “Maneater.” It’s a thematic, rather than literal, translation of the lyrics, which are all about being so obsessed with Furtado that you completely destroy your life. Timbaland’s beat is pretty undeniable, with a solid rhythm and what I’m pretty sure is the sound of a cymbal sliding instead of clanging. The angry buzz of the melody during the verses kicks things up a notch in a really pleasing way, and the reversals sound great. Furtado’s voice is more nasal than I usually expect, kind of like a loose whine, but it fits so well with the beat and it’s great to sing along to, which is pretty much all I ask out of pop music.

I’ve liked Nelly Furtado since her first album, but I think that this song and video were her take on Christina Aguilera’s “Dirrty.” The rap collab, harsh beat, and overtly throbbing sexuality shifted how I thought of both of these sings. That sounds way more filthy than I wanted it to, but what I mean is that “Dirrty” was the point that I noticed that Aguilera shifted from “Genie In A Bottle” passive high school sexiness into “Dirrty” sexy as she wanna be sexiness. I got the same feeling from Furtado’s “Maneater.” This was when I realized she’d shifted from the softer shade of pop on her first album to something with more of an edge. There’s an axis for this thing, it goes Michael Jackson to Prince, and both of them looked around and took a giant step toward Prince and owned it.

I think it’s interesting that both went with the warehouse orgy for a setting, too. It’s not what I’d go to, but it’s a solid visual.

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15 comments to “Furtadofest: Maneater, 2006”

  1. Yo Gavok are you going to talk about how Colossus now has Juggernaut and Phoenix force flowing through him? I mean the only way this twist can get better is if prof. X comes back to life in a robotic life support suit painted in blue and cyan.


  2. @SomerandomGuy: No, he’s not.


  3. I am not a huge fan of Nelly Furtado, but this is a truly excellent pop song. It’s that nagging rhythm that gets under your skin and makes you nod your head. Pop music short-circuiting your brain. Great stuff.


  4. Yo Esther are you going to talk about how Barbara now has Batgirl and Oracle skills flowing through her? I mean the only way this twist can get better is if Thomas Wayne Jr. comes back to life in a Owlman suit painted in grey and black.


  5. @Darin: Que no, por supuesto que no.


  6. @david brothers: I prefer Promiscuous to Maneater just for the playful back and forth. Maneater’s got a ridiculously catchy beat though.


  7. @Darin: Ha! Promiscuous is the subject of next week’s Furtadofest. I think I like Maneater a little more, but you’re 100% right about the back and forth. Where Maneater is barely sublimated skin grinding against skin, Promiscuous is a playful, flirty booty call, pre-texting.


  8. Man, I really dig Nelly Furtado’s more recent music, but I’ll be damned if it wasn’t a bit of a mindfuck when I heard Maneater and the last Furtado song I remembered was I’m Like a Bird.


  9. Ah, and Turn of the Light! That was the other one. Do you know if Folklore is a middle ground between Whoa, Nelly! and Loose?

    In looking to see if she even had an album between the two, I stumbled on the gem from her wiki page:

    “Furtado was also featured in “Breathe” from Swollen Members “Monsters in the Closet” release; the video for “Breathe,” directed by Spawn creator Todd McFarlane, won the 2003 Western Canadian Music Awards Outstanding Video and MuchVIBE Best Rap Video”


  10. @David Fairbanks: I imagine Folklore is between the two, but I don’t remember it being very good. I don’t even think I have it any more, while I’ve hung onto Whoa, Nelly! and Loose.

    That guy Todd McFarlane gets around. I remember liking the KoRn video he directed when I was a kid.


  11. I’ve always loved that super-bored sounding “yeah” she does at 3:52.


  12. There’s some cool visual symbolism going on here too, something as simple as her going down the stairs at the beginning, sort of representing her descent into madness/hell/depravity/desire/mastering her own sexuality/whatever, and then her ultimate ascension to the rooftop (heaven), nice bookends.


  13. When Maneater first came out, I hardly ever saw music videos anymore, so it was only a couple years ago that I caught the video on YouTube. I’d listened to the song thousands of times already and had my own narrative going on about the song, and found the video kinda silly.

    I think the song itself matches up to how you interpret it, but to me the video seems more like the whole club thing with people dancing is more like her own fantasy/daydream? IDK, it just seemed goofy and less sexy. But I agree that the “Loose” album was about bringing more of an edge to her music, and more about sex.

    I can’t wait for her next album, though. From what I’ve read, it’s supposed to be more like “Whoa, Nelly!”, and that it’s influenced by Janelle Monae and Florence + the Machine, and ahhhlk;adfslkajsdf I can’t wait.


  14. @David Fairbanks:

    Folklore is kind of its own thing. I’d day its focus is kinda on self-determination and memories, as well as what I assume are memories/stories of her family immigrating from Portugal to Canada.

    Definitely worth listening to, it’s actually the first album of hers that I picked up. Best tracks on the album (in my opinion): One-Trick Pony, Powerless, Explode, For├ža, Picture Perfect, Saturdays.


  15. @Maddy: Yeah, I’m going to write a thing about her new video for tomorrow or Thursday (I’m not sure if I want to talk about Promiscuous tomorrow or Thurs, is the thing). I have mixed feelings on the single — there’s a Rihanna influence on the chorus and singing that I don’t know if I’m down with or not — but she’s still a tremendous singer and I trust her enough that her album is a must-day purchase regardless. But there’s this regal air to the video that I really dig… I’ll have to write about it tonight, clearly, because I have a lot of thoughts, half of which are contradictory and the other half of which probably don’t even make sense.

    But yes: Nelly Furtado playing in Monae’s sandbox? I’m so down with that. I’m not really familiar with Florence + the Machine though, I’ll have to look them (her?) up.