Pharrell is the musical equivalent of Jennifer Lawrence. When he’s not working with an artist, another artist declares their desire to work with him – and not to mention the endless memes, Pharrell’s involving that park ranger hat.
Eight years after his debut solo effort ‘In My Mind’ was released, Mr Williams makes his triumphant return to the scene with ‘GIRL’, celebrating the mythical creatures that are females.
Come Get It Bae manages to use the most annoying expression of the 21st century in a song that is nowhere near as irritating. The Daft Punk influence that made Get Lucky such a hit remains, with guitars and strong melodies the focus here. Pharrell’s falsetto proves equally catchy and easy on the ears in this Motown inspired smash.
Is there much point discussing lead smash Happy? Its inescapable chorus and bridge was the key to its success this year. However, several video recreations later and extensive radio play has meant it is now a significantly less happy listen.
Lost Queen is the track that is most reminiscent of Pharrell’s early work. Encorporating reggae-style vocals, a soul beat, R&B harmonies and wave sound effects, Lost Queen is seven minutes of dreamy listening. Unfortunately, it is, for want of a better expression, ‘lyrically-challenged’ to say the least. Lines like “I think you are a lost queen/Let me serve you, serve you/Hot sex and gold, shiny things” are hardly Dylan-esque.
It Girl follows the same vein – butter smooth vocals over a hotel-lobby sounding accompaniment. Know Who You Are, however, is a power-house R&B duet featuring Alicia Keys. Both are excellently matched vocally, set against a bassline straight out of another decade. Saccharine lyrics means this is almost guaranteed to be featured in a future episode of ‘Glee’ – mark my words.
Another fantastic collaboration with Justin Timberlake, Brand New, features a beat-box intro and buckets of brass. The kings of pop/R&B harmonising make this the stand-out track on ‘GIRL’. Gush, on the other hand, is a total creepfest. Pharrell’s vocals and lyrics are all schmooze, and not much else.
Marilyn Monroe is a definite grower, encompassing the old and the new with an orchestral accompaniment and a drumbeat. His other-wordly falsetto sings about the woman of his dreams. The spoken word excerpt given by Kelly Osbourne, is, however, more than a little bizarre.
Laced with strings, keyboards and those jazz/funk influences, Pharrell has produced one of the pop albums of the year. ‘GIRL’, despite its airs and graces, has one simple aim – to make you move.