Wednesday, 19 March 2014

''G I R L'' Pharrell - A Review

Pharrell's ascension back to the top of the music world began last year with his work alongside Daft Punk on Random Access Memories and most obviously, single of the year ''Get Lucky''. Coming off the back of Grammy wins and skyrocketing success, it seems as good a time as any for Pharrell to drop only his second solo album, and the results are surprising.

Pharrell's reputation as a production genius is no secret and it's definitely in full flow here, but not in the manner you'd expect if you were looking for hip-hop style beats in the manner of his 2006 debut In My Mind. Back then the guest list was full with rap class- Kanye, Jay Z, Pusha T and and Snoop were among the names adorning the tracklist, but this time Williams opts for just Alicia Keys and Justin Timberlake, in a telling move which hints at the pop direction being taken on G I R L, an album that wisely makes use of Pharrell's good as ever mainstream appeal while never compromising his integrity as he executes a series of low key funk pop jams in just over 45 minutes.

''Marilyn Monroe'' opens proceedings in a stylish pop manner and sets the tone for the rest of the album which is continued with Timberlake's understated appearance on ''Brand New''. The production is undoubtedly first rate as you would expect, with majestic moments on tracks like ''Gust of Wind'' which boasts strings, synths and Daft Punk on vocoder, and ''Know Who You Are'', a wonderful duet with the always superb Alicia Keys.

The best moments come with the funk-pop vibes that Pharrell sends throughout as ''Hunter'', a retro disco throwback and ''Gush'' with its stylish electric guitar moves, make for choice picks among these ten tracks. ''Happy'', it goes without saying, is the Academy Award nominated smash hit single of the year, and it's an excellent pop song that deserves its mainstream success and fits nicely into the context of the album. Perhaps minor complaints could be issued at the overlong, slow burning ''Lost Queen'' and indistinct ''Come Get It Bae'', but overall Pharrell has judged this record time wisely and executed it in a lo-fi, experienced and designed manner.

Simply put, by the end of G I R L you'll have felt ten high quality R&B tunes breeze past in a pleasantly spent, super quick three quarters of an hour. It's an extremely enjoyable piece of music, nothing more, nothing less, and Pharrell has certainly judged his second release very well, with ''Happy'' certainly not marking the end of his chart success for the year. This is plain and simple pop produced to an excellent standard by a premature veteran of the industry who has very much found a second life in this direction, and could and should continue to explore this new, much suited style in greater detail from now on, having delivered what will surely be one of the biggest successes of 2014.


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