ALBUM REVIEW: Pharrell Williams - "G I R L"
It’s hard to tell if this re-emergence is all part of a big master plan by Pharrell Williams or if I should be worried when pressing play on his new, seemingly rushed release “Girl”.
I breathe a sigh of relief when first track “Marilyn Monroe” kicks in. People were so busy comparing Justin Timberlake and Robin Thicke that they seemed to forget that it was Pharrell who created both of their smooth futuristic rnb sounds! This song definitely set the record straight. I can’t help but think this is what Justin should have came back with on part 2 of the “20/20 experience”.
Speaking of Justin the next song features the former N Sync-er in his usual try less/ sell more fashion. The vintage MJ sounding “Brand new” falls a little flat. I have to admit that whilst I listen I am in a synthetically lit office- probably not what the duo had in mind when they were creating. However kudos to Mr. Williams as this is probably the best vocal performance I’ve heard from him!
Next Up is the 70’s influenced (this theme will continue) ode to Debbie Harry “Hunter”. A nice little falsetto chorus adds to the head nodding nature of the track. I mean he may not win album of the year but I dare you to find a collection or tracks cooler. The cool bubble continues with next track “Gush” which does see a little of the “Frontin” Pharrell re-emerge.
"Happy" comes in just in time. The perfect half way track to pick up the pace. The Oscar nominated track is head and shoulders above anything else on the album (bar a certain Alicia Keys featured track)- which I sort of knew would be the case before I pressed play. The effortless repetition and breezy nature of the track has taken over the world- intact as I type this i’m hearing the song has just climbed to number one on the Billboard Hot 100.
Pharrell tries to channel some James Brown in “Come Get It Bae"- sadly without a strong enough voice to really pull it off. It’s a nice enough song with a nice enough guitar riff, but it’s a little thoughtless. And I’m not going to jump on the Miley hate bandwagon, but let’s just say all involved should share the blame. It just feels a little undercooked- much like Pharrells contribution to the Paloma Faith project “Can’t Rely On You”, what an awful, awful song!
It’s safe to say Pharrell is at his best when he’s being smooth and this Daft Punk produced track is smoother than eating a Galaxy chocolate bar in a silk robe stroking a cat! I say they all stop playing around and form a super group for a couple of albums. “When I open the window, I wanna hug you”- so maybe lyrics aren’t his strongest point but he makes them work and Daft Punk add their signature French sheen.
"Lost Queen" is a nice playful track, which is apparently co-written with one of my favourites JoJo (get them cheques Joanna!). This is one of a few moments in the album where the song is sort of a non-event. Its fine. Its good even, it just doesn’t kick you in the face like a “Happy” or “Get Lucky”. I will say that this could have done with a feature- my vote would have been Earl Sweatshirt or one of those other Odd Future guys, would have worked nicely!
"Know Who You Are" is nice! Ok I can ignore the almost preachy lyric, especially with the addition of Alicia Keys. This had me swaying along especially when the track moves in to the reggae tinged section. Aside from Happy- this is easily my favourite track.
So the album is good. It isn’t great, its just good. But it is what I expected. Pharrell is a product of our own greed. He’s such a perfect features artist that whether it’s on a track with Britney or he’s teaming up with Daft Punk, he always seems to shine. And when he shines we beg him to make a full album- and when he makes the full length album it falls short. I mean, there are definite highlights and I’m glad he made it- but it won’t change the world and it won’t emulate the success of the past year. However, it will feed further into the brand of cool that is Pharrell’s bread and butter. So I’ll go along with it- and whilst I’m at it I’ll go buy his book and look for that hat and try and figure out how to afford some BBC clothing- can you see what he did there?! ha!
Buy G I R L now from iTunes and receive a free download of "HAPPY" here:http://smarturl.it/GIRLalbum