Thursday, March 13, 2014

Pharrell Williams- G.I.R.L. (2014)

Why did I review the album? I like Pharrell
Did I like it? Yes
Will I listen again?  Yes
I’ve never been so enamored with an album. I liked it so much that I initially put a BUY rating on this album. But when I strap a buy rating on my review, I’ve decided I must buy the album as well. That forced me to reflect on my reasons for listening to music. I listen to music because I appreciate an artist’s ability to tell a story through music. This album does not do that, so I will not buy it. (It does tell a story, but not one that I think is good enough to support)  Despite that, I hope other people will.
Pharrell’s aim with this album was to provide a fun album where he could talk about his infatuation with women. As tired as the idea sounds, I enjoyed it a lot. The main reason is that he managed to discuss an overused topic without falling into the usual tropes. He makes it interesting by relating the courting of a woman to hunting, or saying he doesn’t want an all-star woman, just a different one. Usually that message would annoy me, but the candor he uses in stating it disarmed me.
Pharrell is a brilliant producer, but this album proves he’s not a lyricist. The lyrics are base and rely on charm and delivery to succeed.  
This album lacks variety as it is ALL about women. But, the lengths he is willing to go to attract woman and the different tactics he uses to do so give each song originality. This album paints Pharrell as a debonair man that can relate to any woman.
I wonder why his label decided to release the album now. It’s the perfect summer album because the atmosphere the music produces. It’s the kind of music you can open the windows (of a car or house) and listen to, but it’s March, so most people will not be able to.
I can completely understand those that do not like the album. At its core its an album about charming woman, a subject that’s overused in music, and the lyrics are mediocre with no depth. But, I found the album charming despite its shortcomings.  
If you are looking for content, you’ll be sorely disappointed, but if you’re looking for an album that’s an easy listen with plenty of charm, you will enjoy this album.  
My Favs
3. Gust of Wind
2. Brand New
1. Know Who You Are
Overall Rating: 80 with a recommendation to listen then decide

Marilyn Monroe- I loved the beginning of this song so much I wanted to know if Pharrell had produced it. Hans Zimmer helped Pharrell with the opening. It only lasts about 15seonds, but I enjoyed every second. Then, oddly the song continues into a second opening. I’m not sure why he did this but it’s awkward. Either choose the Hans Zimmer opening or choose the one that directly follows. As beautiful as the Zimmer composition is, I would remove it because the second opening fits better. Pharrell tells us he’s easy to please because he’s not looking for a Cleopatra, Joan of Arc or Marilyn Monroe, any girl will suffice. Normally I’d be annoyed by the message, but it’s delivered in a playful manner. The message is still the same, but it helped temper my annoyance. The other reason I enjoy this song is its candor. It’s commonly said that a man will say/do anything in order to get what he wants from a woman. Well in this case Pharrell asks “why should I have to lie?” Challenging the notion of a sweet talker that swindles women. Pharrell tell you what he wants and has no qualms with sharing it. Every woman that interacts with Pharrell knows his end game. It’s an interesting twist. The song is too long, but still a strong start to the album. 3.5/5
Brand New- I shouldn’t like this song as much as I do. “Got me feeling brand new.” ”Like the tag still on me” is hardly genius. But there is something about a Pharrell and Justin Timberlake collaboration that’s alluring. The beat and the combined charisma of Pharrell and JT puts a smile on my face every time I hear this song. 4/5
Hunter- This song oddly reminds me of Blurred Lines. I don’t like this song because it didn’t engage me. I already said the albums lyrics are weak and that the album thrives on charm. This song didn’t have that. Because of that, the weak lyrics were especially noticeable. Still, the concept of a man hunting woman is interesting. When a man woos a woman, it is reminiscent of hunting. We choose a woman we like and try to become exclusive before anyone else. In that way, we are all part of the hunt. Most people will hate this song because some will say it is degrading to women. Others will be turned off by the suggestion of men hunting women because it brings humans back to a primal stage that we do not like to confront.2/5      
Gush- The beat carries this songs. It’s smooth and enjoyable. 3/5
Happy-I can foresee this song creating division among listeners. Like the album, its success depends on the receptiveness to Pharrell and his delivery. Some will see it as an uplifting song while others will view it as useless, catchy-pop drivel I’m somewhere in the middle. It’s puts a smile on my face and is catchy pop, but I wouldn’t call it drivel.3/5
Come and Get it Bae- The song uses sophomoric sexual innuendo. Miley Cyrus was completely useless in this song because her only use was to scream, “HEY!” 2/5
Gust of Wind- The violin is my second favorite instrument. Like the saxophone (my favorite instrument) it elevates every song that uses it. Violins transform a bad song into a good one, a good song to a great one, and a great song to a 5 star song. I usually don’t like electronic sound and autotune, but its targeted use in this case help the song. 4/5
Lost Queen- This song reminds me of something I’d find on the 20/20 Experience, without the execution of Timberlake. The first 3:30 was a boring because it felt like someone gave him the lyrics and asked him to sing them. There was no energy in his delivery. Then the song enters a weird intermission for about 30 seconds where the only sound is of waves in the ocean. JT’s beat switches work because he implements them instantaneously. The second half recovers nicely. Not sure how the creators of the track made his voice sound that way, but it was intriguing because it gave me the illusion that he could sing (or at least hold a tune). This song could have been the best on the album, but its poor execution drops it to a decent song. The song is too long, but it recovers enough in the latter half.
Note: I just noticed the double entendre in the second half of the song. It can be heard as in ward or N- word, giving it sexual innuendo. I thought it was hilarious partially because it was cleverly disguised (either that or I’m a bit slow).
Also JoJo makes an appearance in the second half! I didn’t even notice it the first few times I heard the song. She’s only in it for about 15-30 seconds, but she is there. Because her appearance is so short, I have to question why include her in the song? But, as a fan of JoJo, I’m glad to hear her voice even if it’s for a short while.
Lastly, after some research, I’ve discovered the second half of the song is considered a “hidden track” called Freq. Rated as its own song it would receive 4/5 stars, just missing the cut for a my favs mention. 4/5 
Know Who You Are-Alicia Keys steals this song! She’s in it more than Pharrell is and he reaps the benefits. He opens the song then virtually disappears. She sings beautifully and the lighthearted tone created by the beat is coupled with soft touch to create a great song. 4/5

It Girl- Not as good as the opening to the album, but satisfying end.. 3/5


Post a Comment