Pharrell Keeps It Cool with G I R L

It’s come to light since Daft Punk‘s epic single “Get Lucky” that Pharrell Williams is the force behind pop music, and he’s finally taking some time in the spotlight for himself. He’s been in and out of the public’s attention since the late 90s, but with “Get Lucky”, “Happy“, “Blurred Lines“, and that awesome Vivienne Westwood hat (It has quite a history! Click the link to read more), Pharrell has planted himself as a charismatic, effortlessly cool, and talented figure in the modern pop world. With G I R L, Pharrell keeps up his ultra chic approach to music and has given the world a wonderful pop album that goes down smoothly.

G I R L combines the best elements of what we’ve heard in pop music over the last few years; it has the suave of Justin Timberlake‘s The 20/20 Experience, the jazzy funk of Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories, and a bit of the mystique of Kanye West‘s Yeezus. It takes elements from all three of these high-concept albums and turned them into one exciting, accessible pop album. Opening track “Marilyn Monroe” has Pharrell up in his falsetto, higher register, and it kicks things off wonderfully, introducing the listener to the shiny, smooth, ultra-hip world of Pharrell.

Of course, halfway through the album comes the delightful “Happy”, a sweet hit that has just enough funk to make it infectious. The approach to rhythm and tone are carefully considered and make for one immediately uplifting summer single. “Happy” is the outlier on the album. Every other track is closer to Robin Thicke‘s sound, and Pharrell works it. “Come Get It Bae” is another catchy hit using the same tight techniques Pharrell is so good at. The production is relatively bare; none of these songs are overblown or overworked. They keep a simple hook throughout and never let too many layers take over the sound. Pharrell plays in subtleties that add up to a polished final draft.

Just as Pharrell has been a featured artist on so many hits throughout his career, Justin Timberlake features in the duet “Brand New” and Alicia Keys likewise in “Know Who You Are“. Collaborations and duets immediately add an artistic integrity to an album, and both of these tracks are winners. Timberlake and Pharrell’s voices blend together perfectly on “Brand New”, busting out a fun, bright track while “Know Who You Are” slows things down just a bit for a calm, warm summer track. Alicia Keys is the perfect complement for Pharrell’s work.

These are all pop music sounds we’ve heard before, but it seems Pharrell held on to some tricks for himself through the years and put them all together for G I R L. It’s familiar enough to be inviting but new enough to be exciting. Each song is tight, with a focused attention on rhythm that keeps the listener dancing through the whole album. It’s the perfect soundtrack to the rest of your summer.

If you’ve ever wondered why songs like “Happy” put you in a dancing frenzy, NPR did an awesome story on music that makes us want to move. Check it out here!

5 Comments

  1. Wakana Narisako

    July 8, 2014 at 7:42 pm

    Love him and his hat!

  2. Kyle V. Hiller

    July 9, 2014 at 12:39 pm

    My man crush continues…

  3. Amie

    July 9, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    Glad to see he is getting his message out there!

  4. Devon O' Connor

    July 9, 2014 at 3:06 pm

    I’ve always loved Pharrell’s work, but I’m so glad he is spotlighting himself now!

  5. Lauren Silvestri

    July 11, 2014 at 7:22 pm

    He seems to get better with age!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.