Pharrell Williams
In My Mind


3.5
great

Review

by The Katz brothers USER (183 Reviews)
August 19th, 2006 | 21 replies


Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist


It was only a matter of time before Pharrell Williams released a solo album. As the more recognizable half of The Neptunes, Pharrell has produced/written countless hits for mega successful artists in the Pop and Hip-Hop genres such as Jay-Z, Britney Spears and Nelly. In addition, Pharrell is a member of the multi-genre spanning band N.E.R.D., where he sings, produces and plays drums. But, despite being a musician/producer since before the turn of the century it wasn’t until 2006 and the release of “Can I Have it Like That” that the majority of the world heard anything off of Pharrell’s solo debut. Sure, his voice was already famous due to N.E.R.D.’s popularity and his guest appearances on songs like Snoop Dogg’s “Drop it Like It’s Hot” but this was the first “In My Mind” song released to the world.

Can I Have it Like That is probably the best song to use as an introduction to In My Mind. Hence, its status as first single and first track. The beat is driven by nothing more than a distorted bass loop, giving it a very dark feel, as opposed to most of the album, which has a much lighter feel to it. Pharrell drops some great rhymes in the verses ( Back in the day my clouds was grey/And it seemed like my angels couldn't blow them away/But then I sold my first verse that cut the NSX /But I was still ridin' in them thin ass jets) before being joined by Gwen Stefani for a “Call and Response” chorus. Despite the high profile guest star, neat looking video and all of the other previously mentioned attributes, “Can I Have it Like That” barely scratched the top half of the American singles charts.

Pharrell’s original plan for his debut was for half of the album to have a more R&B feel and the other half to have more of a Hip-Hop feel. How it ends up though, is that the album seems to lean a lot more to the R&B side of things, but strangely enough I don’t view this as a bad thing. While usually I’m big on Hip-Hop, the majority of the Hip-Hop tracks on “In My Mind” don’t appeal to me. Sometimes my disliking has to do with bad rapping/lyrics (for examples of both, see Nelly’s verse in Baby ) or maybe it has to do with the beat, like on Keep it Playa where the melody is driven by the weakest sounding synth part I’ve ever heard. The only other thing backing up said synth line is some marching band drums, no bass at all. To make things worse Slim Thug, the guest on Keep it Playa, delivers a fairly terrible verse of rapping. Of course, there are a couple of exceptions to this. The first two rap tracks, Can I Have it Like That and How Does it Feel? are great. The later, like “Keep it Playa” uses marching band drums but, combined with some nice bass work and fantastic brass lines, sounds much better.

So while there are some great rap tracks on the album, the R&B tracks work out much better. You Can Do it Too , one of my favorite tracks on the album, has a very jazzy feel to it. Brushed drums, walking bass lines and beautiful strings make up one the better beats on the album and Pharrell really delivers lyrically. Whether it be touching on his self-conscious with lyrics like I was a marching band, I was a skateboader/Jesus made wine, I couldn't make water or revisiting the past in other rhymes, such as I felt the wind from it, that was God cocking back/I got a call from Virginia grandma went back/ The line was fluctuated but it just now went flat/ See her body went down and her soul went up/ She sent angels around me so evil could not touch You Can Do it Too features some of the best lyrics on the album.

While lyrically, many of In My Mind’s tunes aren’t up to the quality of “You Can Do it Too”, production wise, pretty much every song is fantastic. With the exception of Keep it Playa and maybe one or two others, Pharrell’s production and writing (both of which he does himself) are up to the standard previously set by The Neptunes. He draws from a fairly large area of instruments and influences, for such a mainstream producer. He moves from jazzy bass lines in one song to crunky (word?) synths in the next with ease. Not to mention, he executes both very well. Needless to say, Pharrell’s production is the most consistently good part of In My Mind.

Surprisingly though, Pharrell’s proper debut is somewhat of a disappointment. Sure the production is great and the songwriting is usually just as good, but some tracks just completely flop. Towards the end of the album especially, is where this happens. Album closer Show You How to Hustle is a decent song, but becomes fairly boring by the end, second single Number One is another disappointment near the end of the album. Parts of the production are superb, and Pharrell’s singing during the verses is as well but the chorus completely kills the song. “Number One, Smash Hit. Off the Charts, Classic” Pharrell sings with Kanye West babbling in the background. Kanye’s verse sounds like something that would be off his new album and features some nifty one liners ( Now we fresh as a prince while they Jazzy Jeff ). All in all, while a slight disappointment, In My Mind does feature some superb tracks and is well worth the 3.5/5 I’m about to give it.

-Dan



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Zebra
Moderator
August 19th 2006


2647 Comments


The only song I've heard is the one with Gwen Stefani, I didn't really like it that much. Good review, one of your best.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
August 19th 2006


16089 Comments


What he said.
I heard the single, and it didn't get me too excited, but I supposed I'll be checking this out just to keep my street cred with muzak.

francesfarmer
August 19th 2006


1477 Comments


I really, really, really like Pharrel. Agree with your rating, and good job reviewing it.

Storm In A Teacup
August 19th 2006


13221 Comments


Can I Have It Like That is awful.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
August 19th 2006


16089 Comments


I have to agree with kripes now. Relistening to it, I really don't like it at all =/. I'll see if anyone I know has the album still,though.

The Jungler
August 19th 2006


4827 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

That song is cool.

Why don't you guys like it?

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
August 19th 2006


16089 Comments


He sounds so...weak. I don't know how to describe it, but his voice just underwhelms me so much.

"Freshly Baked"
August 19th 2006


583 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I like it, and this is a solid album, I struggle between giving it a 3 and 3.5.

Good Review

The Jungler
August 26th 2006


4827 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This is the worst album ever.
Are you kidding?

MUNGOLOID
March 20th 2008


4351 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is not a bad listen. Even though pharrell attempts to do too many things at least he doesn't do it terribly. If there was an instrumental version of this, I would recceomend that over this.

aguzman
May 8th 2008


62 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I think this is not a bad album, not extraordinary also, but you can digest it through some free time. I give a 3.0. After listening several times, it makes me think that is kind of mediocre, most of the songs are so repetitive. I give a 2.0This Message Edited On 05.15.08

sportsboy
March 17th 2012


642 Comments


it's ok, but that girl is pretty damn fun

Kman418
April 12th 2013


11338 Comments


pharrell

Digging: Xiu Xiu - Fabulous Muscles

FourthReich
April 12th 2013


18135 Comments


nelly>

Kman418
April 12th 2013


11338 Comments


idk wat this even is

FourthReich
April 12th 2013


18135 Comments


idk what you are talking about but that cupcake looks mighty good right now

Kman418
April 12th 2013


11338 Comments


i think i'm gonna change it soon so enjoy it while you can

demigod!
April 12th 2013


45255 Comments


make it a vag

Digging: Black Sabbath - Master of Reality

Kman418
April 12th 2013


11338 Comments


wow i was not expecting that

DrHouseSchuldiner
April 12th 2013


5643 Comments


Nelly Furtado >



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