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Nelly Furtado's Hot New Song (And Lost Classics)

[caption id="attachment_49092" align="aligncenter" width="605" caption="Nelly Furtado clocked you."][/caption]

You guys, I've been riding for Nelly Furtado since 2000. She doesn't get as much attention as your Kelly Clarksons and your Pinks, but she is one the most versatile, surprising artists we've got. You want catchy pop? Nelly's got you. You want hip-hop flavor in your Kool-Aid? Pass the cup to Nelly. You want South American sounds reminiscent of Furtado's Portuguese roots? Or maybe sad-eyed, Irish-flavored ballads? Well the U.N. called, and Nelly's representing every damn country they've got.

Just think about her hits and how different they sound: Different from each other and different from everything else that's been popular in the last 12 years. "I'm Like a Bird" and "Say It Right" would sound just as fresh next to fun. and Gotye the Naked Dancer as they did next to J-Lo and Backstreet Boys.

Furtado's new single "Big Hoops (Bigger the Better)" is a great example of why she rules. At first, it sounds like your basic club track, but then it starts breaking down. Like... literally. The beat starts stuttering, like the song is falling to pieces, and this vaguely mournful sound slithers through, like a sad didgeridoo. Toss in Furtado's slinky, distinctive voice, and you've got a creepy-sexy anthem.

With any luck, "Big Hoops" will get people twisting all over the country.

But why stop there? Let's celebrate some of Nelly Furtado's Lost Classics.

I've already told you about "Is Anybody Out There?"---her duet with K'Naan---and the following songs are just as flawless.

(1) "All Good Things (Come to an End)"

A ballad from her 2006 album Loose, "All Good Things" was a big hit in other countries, but America ignored it. Which is a shame, because it's gorgeous. Furtado's always had a knack for emotional power, and here, she and Timbaland wrap those feelings in an ethereal beat. It's spacy and gentle, and it's perfect for drinking a beer on your back porch.

(2) "Fresh Off the Boat"

Furtado's incredible second album, Folklore, fuses South American/Latin sounds with mainstream pop. There are at least 6 essential tracks, but you should start with "Fresh Off the Boat," a funky ode to multiculturalism. You can bob your head from the beginning, but when Nelly drops the "ding-ding-ding" breakdown at 1:30, you might just lose your mind. It's so weird! And fabulous! She sounds like an artist who enjoys taking risks, and that's exciting to hear.

(3) "Hey Man!"

Indulge me for a minute because I've got a great idea for a video for this song from Furtado's first album Whoa, Nelly!

In the opening, we see Nelly sitting at a tea party in a fancy British garden from the 19th century. White lace gloves. Proper hats. Expensive china. Everything.

While the strings are playing in the intro, we cut to various people at the party, and they're all laughing and chatting and having fun. Except Nelly. She's frozen still, holding her teacup to her mouth.

But when the drums kick in at 0:11, she smashes her teacup down. It shatters, and suddenly, everybody else freezes. Nelly is free to roam around!

I don't know what happens next, but how amazing would that be?

Mark Blankenship tweets as @IAmBlankenship. He recently suggested the perfect songs to celebrate Obama's gay marriage announcement.