N.E.R.D.
Nothing


1.5
very poor

Review

by Rudy K. STAFF
November 3rd, 2010 | 49 replies | 16,681 views


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: "People don't wanna think no more / they just wanna feel"

Well, you can’t blame N.E.R.D. for trying to pull one over on their fans. Nothing is just what it brazenly titles itself as – an empty record, one lacking the sometimes questionable but more often than not intriguing experimentation and oddball weirdness that might not have made their earlier records great, but at least made them interesting. It’s as if, after years of pumping out hit singles as the Neptunes and dabbling in all sorts of genres with N.E.R.D., Pharrell Williams and friends threw their hands up and decided to make one of the most half-assed dance records in recent memory. It’s sad that a band that once showed so much promise, hit-or-miss as it was, brings nothing to the table on their latest endeavor that could remotely be called a success.

No longer does the band seem engaged in what had become their calling card, namely mixing up rock, funk, hip-hop and numerous other styles and throwing them into a bewildering stew, with Pharrell’s love-it/hate-it falsetto more or less in charge. Oh, Pharrell and his overinflated sense of his own singing voice are still very much in evidence – just check out the laughable soul he demonstrates on “Hypnotize U” – but if N.E.R.D. as a band ever had an identity, it is nowhere to be found here. Instead, it’s as if the Williams and Hugo went through the Neptunes scrap heap for any number of throwaway tracks, tracked some live instrumentation to keep the N.E.R.D. “ethos” alive, and added typically nonsense Pharrell lyrics on top. “We wrote this for a purpose . . . please feel free to lose your mind,” Williams sings on lead single “Hot-N-Fun,” a better mission statement for Nothing than any press release could come up with. For a single, “Hot-N-Fun” is disastrously boring, and future candidates “I’ve Seen The Light” and “Hypnotize U” are a faux-soul retread and an embarrassingly cartoonish slow jam, respectively. Nothing is a disturbingly generic record for a group as supposedly innovative as the Neptunes, although maybe this is because every song here sounds like it’s been produced before, and better. It’s nearly impossible to shake the feeling that songs like the opaque ballad “Life as a Fish” or the horn-heavy “God Bless Us All” have been created using what seems like Nothing’s standardized checklist – down tempo R&B beat, flat lining Pharrell vocals, bubbly bass, a harrumphing horn here or a tinkle of bells there.

“People don’t wanna think no more / they just wanna feel,” goes another line from “Hot-N-Fun,” and if that is what N.E.R.D. have come to after such potential, maybe it shouldn’t come as that big of a surprise. Pharrell and the Neptunes long ago turned from a group that emphasized the substance behind their beats into the epitome of flash, a vapid, vacuous style. The Neptunes are a hip-hop commodity now, a fashion and celebrity icon whose name is more important to a track now than the beat itself, and it was only a matter of time before that transformation reached N.E.R.D. as well. No one is going to complain – the Neptunes still put out a killer track now and then, and singles like “Hot-N-Fun” are going to keep N.E.R.D. relevant for years, at least in the clubs. It’s just a shame that a band that could be so much more now gives us Nothing.



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2.2
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"Nothing, we learned nothing."...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Calculate
November 3rd 2010



1135 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Couldn't disagree more! This really impressed me. Their best since In Search Of.

Hep Kat
November 3rd 2010



13992 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

oh how unfortunate : (


another shitty n.e.r.d. album.

Digging: Casanovas In Heat - Belvidere b/w Destiny St.

klap
Staff Reviewer
November 3rd 2010



9982 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

i like mindless music as much as the next guy, but this is boring and uninspired

SeaAnemone
November 3rd 2010



18752 Comments


heard one of the singles a few weeks ago and it was atrocious I literally threw away the CD

Calculate
November 3rd 2010



1135 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

What do you think of their previous albums klap?

klap
Staff Reviewer
November 3rd 2010



9982 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

i liked in search of a lot, fly or die not so much, and loved parts of seeing sounds and hated other parts of it

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
November 3rd 2010



30286 Comments


Ehhhhh

Digging: L'Orange - The Orchid Days

Douglas
November 3rd 2010



8984 Comments


such a nothing album omg snap crackle and pop

iisblackstar
November 3rd 2010



431 Comments


definitely wont be checking this out.. how disappointing

Calculate
November 3rd 2010



1135 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Hmmm pretty much my thoughts too, idunno why I like this I just do ugh.

Hep Kat
November 3rd 2010



13992 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

listened to some of this for w/e reason, went back to jim norton.

AtavanHalen
November 3rd 2010



17927 Comments


Review's probably wrong, will get asap.

klap
Staff Reviewer
November 3rd 2010



9982 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

thanks david

AggravatedYeti
November 4th 2010



7684 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5 | Sound Off

sounds about what I expected.

engaging read as always rudy.

This band has been making shitty records since 'Fly Or Die' and that is inexcusable.

shindip
November 4th 2010



3536 Comments


Saw these guys last night opening for Gorillaz. they put on an unreal live show, yet their albums suck

MorningView425
November 4th 2010



162 Comments


I once tried to like these guys when I first tried to get into hip-hop- mostly because Pharrell isn't too threatening to a nerdy white dude...errrr...anyway. That quote says too much about music today; I think there at least has to be some semblance of balance between the two. (Did I just use a semicolon in a post? Yes. Did I use it correctly? I have noooo idea). I'll stick to The Roots, Gorillaz, and the occasional Missy E binge for now.

SwayzeFaced
November 4th 2010



336 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

I saw these guys open for the Gorillaz about a month ago in NJ. They were absolutely terrible. Played a lot of stuff off this album as well.


During the live performance he needed to stop yelling and start singing more and stop preaching about alternative music.... "is that what hot and fun is?" i kept thinking to myself. i hope not... this album is at best a lazy attempt at grasping onto the wave of success from bands like the Gorillaz and The Roots who are heavily instrument based as far as rhythm and turning it into a pop album.

common pharrell you can do better then this... =

TAB
November 4th 2010



435 Comments


saw them live with gorillaz, they were okay but shitty.

Bitchfork
November 4th 2010



7584 Comments


Did you read my mind?

farglesnuff
November 4th 2010



241 Comments


saw em last night openin for the gorillaz here in van city. theyre alright. i like a few of there songs but thats where it ends.

hey shindip it appears were neighbors in sputnik and real life. we might aswell hang out.



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