Review of GIRL by Pharrell
For those of you with even a minimal knowledge of Greek mythology will be aware of King Midas. The King was, according to legend, given the gift of being able to turn anything he touched in to gold. Well in 2014 we have a modern day King Midas. Pharrell Williams or more commonly known as Pharrell, has the same “midas touch” in modern music. Last year, Pharrell could do no harm. Get Lucky and Blurred Lines with Daft Punk and Robin Thicke respectively were monster hits.
If there was any doubt as to whether Pharrell could do it on his own, or if he needed to rely on collaborating, he went and released one of the most universally loved tracks of all time. Happy as part of the Despicable Me 2 soundtrack was another huge hit and a great track, showing Pharrell is the full ticket, the real deal or simply the badgers nadgers. Pharrell has it all. So with that in mind can Pharrell pull off an album full of excellence?
G I R L is released tomorrow on 3rd March with much anticipation from critics and music fans alike.
The one negative that could be aimed at Pharrell may be one of objectifying women or potentially either sexism with his involvement in two of the songs with the most controversial videos of last year. Who can forget Blurred Lines video with the string of scantily clad ladies. He also had quite a major hand in Miley Cyrus‘ Bangerz album. So GIRL has been put together to address some of that negativity, even making a rush-release.
Pharrell sends us on a journey through his mind, post wedding. His recent wedding was the end of his reign as the most eligible bachelor in RnB. However, Pharrell still tells us of his interests, attractions and libido within GIRL. On the track Marilyn Monroe, Pharrell uses the name of the Hollywood icon and most widely recognised sex symbol to tell us he doesn’t much like the beauties in history. Using his amazing voice to drip through the lyrics like syrup, Pharrell charms us with his assertions that the likes of Monroe and Cleopatra are not for him.
Pharrell tells us that he prefers “a different girl”. So RnB’s pin-up boy, manages to duet with himself, backed by a distinct guitar sound, aims to tell us all girls are beautiful. The track is a great piece of production combining the guitar and funk to great effect.
Now Pharrell doesn’t particularly help himself though the controversy on Come Get It Bae, featuring Miley Cyrus the queen of controversy. On first listen the track doesn’t offer much. Yes its well produced and is a pretty tight pop number. However the more you listen and get past the Miley input, you get used to the track and actually find yourself nodding along.
However Gust of Wind blows it out of the water. The track renews Pharrell’s relationship with Daft Punk. Now Daft Punk are hardly stragglers in terms of production. Add them and Pharrell together and magic ensues. Gust of Wind uses the trademark robotic sounds of Daft Punk. The track is well put together and musically it just works. Love it.
As if that wasn’t enough, Brand New puts Justin Timberlake back with Pharrell. This is a definite future single and is the first real sign that Pharrell has matured following his wedding. A great funk back drop with some lovely lyrics shows off the talent of both Pharrell and JT. Pharrell hints at his new future with the line “like the tag still on me” indicating a new life and “I just want to thank you for this day” which one can conclude is about his wedding day. This track is one of the highlights of GIRL and is far superior than anything JT has put out on either 20/20 Experience installment.
In another track that throws GIRL off his traditional RnB grindfests is Lost Queen. However, what the track lacks in its Blurred Lines it more than makes up for in its Rock Your Body (both tracks that Pharrell has a hand in). Lost Queen is beautiful in its simplicity. The engine noise kicks in on ever occasion that Pharrell sings about getting the engine running. The drums are brilliant and the lyrics hang over the entire composition with stunning ease. The track perhaps is the biggest uncovering of Pharrell discussing his nice vs naughty side.
The 10 track album probably does fall a little short of expectations. Not because there is anything wrong with GIRL or because of the apparent split personality of the album. It purely falls short of expectations because of the great expectations that Pharrell has set himself. To say there are fillers on the album would be unfair. However there are a few tracks where you just go mah to. Perhaps the biggest disappointment was the collaboration with Alicia Keys. Whilst Keys may not be the most exciting of characters, she does have an incredible voice. So surely linking with golden man Pharrell could only be good. Sadly the output is average.
Overall GIRL is worth listening and there are some great tracks. The great out number the average and makes GIRL a good purchase. If I was to make one observation or criticism it would be the lack of some of the RnB edge or Hip Hop beats you normally associate with Pharrell. But overall definite quality from Mr Pharrell Williams.