Pharrell's newest album "G I R L" is one more successful notch in the artist/producer's belt.
It’s official: Pharrell Williams is back. With the recent success of songs like “Get Lucky”, “Blurred Lines” and his newest Oscar-nominated single “Happy”, Pharrell has reclaimed his spot in the R&B royal family and is killing it. Not that he was ever really gone, since he’s been co-producing for other artists throughout. Either way, the artist and producer has certainly come back from his first solo debut in 2006 with album In My Mind, and has managed to keep the ball rolling since the release of “Blurred Lines” last year. His newest album G I R L, is a nice transition, mirroring Pharrell’s current lifestyle. The long-time bachelor is married and in love and is clearly not afraid to sing about it. G I R L is soft around the edges with some impressive tracks and collaborations. The album pays homage to both funk and disco gods like The Commodores as well as legends like Prince and Michael Jackson. It’s an album that sticks to it’s word— it’s a nod to women and it definitely doesn’t stray from that.
The album opens with the song “Marilyn Monroe,” which sets the tone for rest of the album with some strings and a steady beat. In the song ex-player Pharrell says “I just want a different girl” and not the typical Marilyn Monroe bombshell. “Brand New” featuring Justin Timberlake is the first of a on point collaborations on this album. If there’s one thing that Pharrell has proven great at they are his collabs and this one is no exception. This is one of several songs on the album that brings out that unapologetic old funk sound.
“Hunter” is another upbeat track that shows off the album’s impressive production. In the song Pharrell says “If I can’t have you nobody can/This an animal singin’ that’ll hunt you down.” The song is catchy even though the lack of buildup makes it a little repetitive. But the next track, “Gush,” is one of the hotter tracks on the album, with a very MJ “Off The Wall” vibe. Pharrell reminds us what he’s all about in this song when he says “I could be the guy to treat you/To a nice movie, feed you/ But I don’t wanna mislead you/Tonight I think I wanna be dirty, girl.”
Being the first single off of this album, “Happy” is definitely a catchy beat that quickly grows on you. The song sums up the vibe of the whole album with upbeat vocals that promise easy listening. Another favorite is Pharrell’s collaboration with Miley Cyrus “Come Get It Bae.” The track is well-produced with a solid beat and Cyrus’s vocals add a fun touch. In a way this song is a nod to Pharrell, who helped co-produce Cyrus’s most recent what she calls “dirty south” album Bangerz.
“Gust of Wind” featuring Daft Punk is the third installment of a series of songs the electro-duo has collaborated on with Pharrell. This track is smooth and breezy, and while it’s not quite as strong as “Get Lucky” and “Lose Yourself To Dance” all three collaborations have proven that these three work well together. “Lost Queen” is another favorite with a slower and steady beat but with a worldly edge to it, a combination of hand drums and humming vocals. The song shifts into a second half with ocean sounds and Pharrell singing “you gotta go inwards, to experience the outer space, that was built for you.” This track is similar to Justin Timberlake’s trademark two part songs, and it adds some spontaneity to not just the song but the album in general.
“Know Who You Are” featuring Alicia Keys is one of the weaker tracks on the album as well as probably the least impressive collaboration. While Keys is a consistent talent, the song itself doesn’t really seem to take us anywhere, as opposed to other songs like “Lost Queen” and “Marilyn Monroe” that transport the listener to a disco dance floor or a full moon beach party. “It Girl” wraps it all up and it’s a solid ending for a solid album. Pharrell manages to tie a neat bow on his musical tribute to women. G I R L is a successful cohesive project that shows us what Pharrell is all about—combining the old with the new to make something even better.