Review Summary: The bar needs to be raised.
Pharrell Williams has certainly made quite a name for himself. While the producer has been a veritable powerhouse behind the scenes, working with everyone from The Rolling Stones to Mos Def to Madonna, and it was only a matter of time before he exploded onto the scene full-force as a self-serving artist. We got a taste of the Pharrell magic with Daft Punk's almost criminally overplayed "Get Lucky", as well as his contributions to the successful Despicable Me movies. Unfortunately, while Pharrell's solo effort, GIRL
, is enjoyable, its flaws hamper it to the point of threatening to consign it into mediocrity.
When one considers Pharrell's history, it isn't unreasonable to expect a funk-filled, soulful release of memorable pop songs - in fact, that's exactly what Pharrell attempts to deliver, wearing a class-act persona while innocently creating earcandy. "Get Lucky" serves as a fitting comparison to the tracks on GIRL
, and sadly that track happens to outshine most (if not all) of the tracks on Pharrell's own album. The production on each of the songs here is sparse, and while funky guitars and Pharrell's own smooth delivery ostensibly seem enough to sustain interest, continual missteps in melody and plenty of poor lyrical choices detract from the overall album. Out of all the many guest features, Justin Timberlake's contribution on "Brand New", interspersed with joyful horns, is possibly one of the highest points on GIRL
; on the other end of the spectrum is the song "Gush", which contains such lyrical gems such as "light that ass on fire" and "I make the pussy just gush". This presents the primary problem with Pharrell's album - while there are notable high points and acceptably well-written sections, there are also parts that are so dismally trite and so amateurishly written that it borders on the ludicrous.
is a satisfactory accomplishment, but unfortunately Pharrell's does not flex enough muscle in terms of songwriting to make an album truly worthy of the Pharrell name. As accomplished as he is, and as impeccably produced GIRL
is, there is the prevailing sense that Pharrell could've created a significantly more important release in the world of pop.