On March 3rd, Pharrell Williams released his second solo album GIRL and his first project under the nerd’s new label I Am Other under the Columbia Records umbrella. Pharrell has been an inspiration in my life ever since he came to this planet as 1 half of production team The Neptunes. Chad Hugo, his better half is such a musical genius and an out of this world visionary, hence all the space terms involved with him and Pharrell.
In My Mind released in 2006, was Skateboard P’s first attempt at a solo project. After turning the entire music industry upside down with his production and ideas, In My Mind was an easy listening, very radio friendly LP with many of his closest friends and colleagues making special appearances. The live sounds and alternative inspirations are what sets the ageless Pharrell apart from everyone making music. Not to mention his smooth, yet mediocre hooks and vocals. I wouldn’t expect anything less from P.
G I R L the album has been available for 1 week now and has sold around 70K copies. I’m not sure if Pharrell had high expectations for this album, other than to make timeless music to dance to. He most definitely accomplished this the second we heard his lead single Happy. It had the world, well, Happy.
The album G I R L starts off with a beautiful string quartet intro followed by Pharrell’s introduction stating, “Different”. The record is called Marilyn Monroe. The chorus goes, “Girl, Girl, Girl… I just want a different girl.” Again you are hearing the live classic sounds and up-tempo vibes, which Pharrell has been notorious for throughout his career. The song is co-written by Ann-Marie and her beautiful violin can be heard throughout. Kelly Osbourne blesses the microphone with her added vocals at one point, oh and did I mention that the incomparable Hans Zimmer arranged all strings on G I R L. Yeah, he did that.
Brand New beat box vocals can be spotted from a mile away. Sound familiar? That’s because they produced from fellow Virginia Beach producer Timbaland. It doesn’t feel right either without the newly crowned king of pop, Justin Timberlake assisting on vocals. Just to be clear, before there was the Timbaland/Timberlake takeover, there was Pharrell and Justin collaborations on the Nsync classic Girlfriend and a majority of his debut solo album Justified.
Pharrell takes us back a few decades with Hunter as it resonates in the 70’s era. The simplicity of vocals and harmonies are strongly felt on this one. I expect the likes of George Clinton or Earth Wind and Fire to end up on stage in a live performance of Hunter at some point. On that note expect Pharrell to do shows on shows on tours on festivals in 2014. I call it #PharrellSeason.
“GUSH”. Electric guitars and the feel of his indie rock group NERD make up this record. I really want to believe that Chad Hugo helped work on G I R L, or at least ghost-produced, but I cannot find any credits for him and do not think that is the case. Regardless he is felt in spirit with Neptunes sound kits and samples splattered all over the tracklist.
The ultimate timeless record of 2014 has been Happy. First heard on the Despicable Me Motion Picture Soundtrack in 2013, this song has developed into something of a musical monster. His 24 hour music visual went viral and caused the world happy hysteria. People from all over covered the song and turned the video into their own. Although Pharrell did not win a much-deserved Oscar for the crack track, he did perform at the awards show, ultimately forcing everyone who’s anyone to get up and dance damnit.
Come Get It features Disney idol turned rock star Miley Cyrus seductive vocals. The two originally worked on Miley’s most recent album Bangerz. Now she returns the favor for another ‘hot like fire’ song. Pharrell surprisingly meshes well with Miley and her adlib vocals. The two sing, “Come Get It Bae”.
If this next record sounds familiar, it definitely is because Gust Of Wind features euro electric pop duo Daft Punk. Reminiscent vibes from the summer slam jam ‘Get Lucky’ can be strongly felt. Even Pharrell gets his vocals Daft Punk’d, which work so well for him. Again Pharrell is winning because simplicity is everything!
Lost Queen colors outside of the lines on G I R L. Many more sounds and samples make up the first half of the song. It’s just different and I’m OK with that. The track fades out to the sound of mellow waves crashing somewhere on a deserted beach, I would imagine. Seeing Sounds best represents Lost Queen. The lights go low and the vibe switches up on the second half of the song, which features vocals from singer/songwriter JoJo.
Another melodramatic electric song called Know Who You Are presents itself towards the end of G I R L. You haven’t heard her name lately, but you definitely can’t forget the signature sounds of Alicia Keys. A record that could easily be a radio favorite.
It Girl closes out the album in such a smooth and easy listening way. A song that you could find the youngest of children or the oldest person dancing to feeling content. This album is something special and exactly what the world needed at this point in time. Again I can’t stress what timeless music Pharrell is currently making and G I R L is another perfect example of that argument. Watch what the NERD does next.