It has been a decade since the song top the charts around the world
Through the years, there have been plenty of occasions when musical artists "went pop" in their careers, and some might cynically say it was purely for the money. Michael Bolton started out as a heavy rocker, Katy Perry kicked off as a Christian crooner, and Gwen Stefani the solo artist and Gwen Stefani as part of No Doubt are two completely different beasts.
But perhaps the most successful metamorphosis from "interesting, vaguely indie artiste" to someone who came out to attack the charts with both guns blazing is Nelly Furtado when she released "Manhunter", the first wide-release single from her third album, Loose.
Furtado had actually exploded on to the chart scene six years earlier with the release of her first single "I'm Like A Bird", her unique vocal and ear for catchy hooks guaranteeing her first hit. Debut album Whoa, Nelly! also spawned "Turn Off The Light", "... on the Radio (Remember The Days)" and other singles, to ever dwindling success.
Three years later, sophomore album Folklore, to average reviews, mediocre sales and almost no hit singles. "Powerless (Say What You Want)" and "Forca" both did okay, but only two albums in, and Furtado was already fading from the spotlight.
Working on her third album, Furtado was trying new things. Initially working with Track & Field - the producers of her first two albums - she quickly moved on to different collaborators. Colombian musician Juanes was first up (who would eventually co-write and co-perform Loose track "Te Busque"), before some sessions with Pharrell, Scott Storch and others, before she eventually ended up in the studio with Timbaland and his then-protege, Danja.
Furtado had previously worked with Timbaland as a featured guest on his production for Ms. Jade's hit single "Ching Ching", and Timbaland himself was approaching the peak of his popularity, having just produced Missy Elliott's This Is Not A Test! album, as well as Brandy's Afrodisiac and later in 2006, Justin Timberlake's Futuresex/Lovesounds.
Working on Loose, Furtado looked to TLC, Janet Jackson and, slightly surprisingly, the Eurythmics for inspiration. Upon release, critics said that she had sold out, attempting to be sexier in the goal of selling more records, but in the liner notes of the album, Furtado herself states the album "indulging in pleasures—whether it's dancing or lovemaking." The album wasn't about being sexy, because "I think I just am sexy now".
The album would be released in June 2006, but "Maneater" wasn't the first single to jump from the project. First up came "No Hay Igual", a reggaethon inspired song in which Furtado sings in Spanish and raps in Portuguese. Then came "Promiscuous", which was the first proper single in the U.S., but the second single everywhere else in the world after "Maneater".
May 12th 2006, "Maneater" was officially released, instantly garnering Furtado comparisons to everything from Madonna, Depeche Mode and, again slightly surprisingly, Hall & Oates (perhaps due to their hit song of the same name).
Furtado claims the song is about "people who are hot on themselves, looking at themselves dancing in the mirror in their underwear [...] It's got a crazy loud beat, and the vocals are bitchy and loud. A lot of people say it sounds like Peaches, because of the delivery, the spooky vocals."
The song would top the UK charts, the Billboard Dance charts, as well as being one of the highest selling singles of 2006. It was covered on the BBC1 Live Lounge by Panic At The Disco!, Basement Jaxx and rock band Kill Boy Kill.
Furtado would follow the album up three years later with Latin album Mi Plan - critically liked, commercially ignored - and a further three years later would return with The Spirit Indestructible, working mostly with super-producer Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins (Destiny's Child, Toni Braxton), but ended up being critically shrugged at and commercially flopping. She has recently teased that a new album is inbound, but whether or not she can recapture the lightning in a bottle moment that was "Maneater" remains to be seen.