Pharrell Williams isn’t here to hog the spotlight. In fact, he’s been sharing it for years with countless artists and despite being the industry vet that he is, he’s only released one solo album to date. Although his first album in eight years, you may of heard he’s been pretty busy elsewhere. 2013 was without a doubt the singer/producer’s biggest year to date. Which is hard to believe considering the accolades and acclaim he has received throughout his career. His two number 1 singles “Blurred Lines” and “Get Lucky” have both proven he has no problem with making cross over hits. His only flaw in his career up till this point that I can think of is his debut album In My Mind. Sure the album had some great radio records but for me In My Mind was more of P trying to record like other artists and follow trends. The stigma on P was he could make hits for everyone but himself, but after his hit song “Happy” took over the radio, record executives at Columbia made Williams an offer he couldn’t refuse. In the latest issue of GQ, he says he found himself trying to make records like Diddy and Jay Z, which made his songs lack purpose and sound ego driven, and that was the complete opposite of the humble selfless Williams. After listening to his latest body of work G I R L, I am more than pleased to discover that he’s found his way.
G I R L is an album that is an ode to women in all shapes, colors and forms. Pharrell made it clear he wanted it to be dedicated to women because they play such huge roles in our every day lives. The LP is only ten tracks long which I appreciate because I hate when artist give me too many throwaway records that I have to skip over. Pharrell gets straight to business with “Marilyn Monroe”, and sounds like a modern day Marvin Gaye or Curtis Mayfield as he swoons about this unique girl that even history’s most beautiful women couldn’t compare to. “She’s everything I want, and it’s crystal clear not even Marilyn Monroe, Who Cleopatra please, not even Joan of Arc, That don’t mean nothin’ to me I just want a different girl” he croons on the opener. Throughout the album you can tell that ’70’s soul and funk music was played in P’s household because the influences are all there. ‘Come Get it Bae’ pairs Pharrell with Miley Cyrus for an unlikely hypnotic cut, while Daft Punk lend their auto-tuned touch to ‘Gust of Wind.’ Justin Timberlake drops in for ‘Brand New’ and almost sounds exactly like Pharrell’s other frequent collaborator Robin Thicke but that’s not a bad thing.
Although ‘Hunter’ is 4 minutes in length, something seems incomplete about it, but you can definitely hear Rod Stewart and Prince’s influence all over this. Where ‘Lost Queen’ sounds like a seductive tribal calling, ‘Gush’ goes straight to the bedroom. ‘…but i don’t wanna mislead you tonight I think I wanna get dirty girl” he sings. Even though we can all agree Williams isn’t going to blow us away with his vocals, his silky smooth falsetto is what makes this album so great to listen to. Just like the man himself, it’s easy going and laid back. The album is cool and unique to the fact that he wanted to be true to himself. He wanted to make music that makes him happy (no pun intended). It sounds like Pharrell invited some of his music buddies over for a jam session and we got this modern day funk and soul inspired album.
G I R L is a feel good vibe that combines classic Motown soul and funk with a touch of disco. The album is full of polyrhythms that exemplify Pharrell’s production work that we’ve become accustomed to throughout the years of his lengthy career. Gone are the forced luxury rhymes of Skateboard P. Stepping forward is a pride-less married man seemingly comfortable with the present. The album feels like a jukebox of future club jams in outer space. G I R L is a feel good album that we’ve been lacking lately, and may very well fill a void. It’s also a celebration for an artist displaying his art on his terms.