Friday 7 March 2014

Review of "G.I.R.L." by Pharrell Williams

G.I.R.L is ten tracks of smile-inducing, breezy, funk-pop and doesn’t try to be anything more. 

If you’re looking for jazz flute solos, crazy time signatures and lyrics as deep as Atlantis then look elsewhere. The only experimental moment on this album is the almost-eight-minute “Lost Queen”, which is really just two songs lumped together under the same track title with some ambient wave noises thrown in the middle.

This lack of pretentiousness is what gives G.I.R.L its charm. There are also a lot of big names on this record to gawp at: Daft Punk, Miley Cyrus, Alicia Keys and Justin Timberlake. This isn’t much of a surprise coming from Pharrell. Over the course of his career, the N.E.R.D-rapper-turned-r&b-singer-and-producer has managed to work with every musician in the known universe (probably musicians in unknown universes too). Daft Punk, Robin Thicke, Azealia Banks, 2 Chainz, Cee-lo Green, Mike Posner, Nelly, Hans Zimmer and Gary Glitter are just a handful of the artists he worked with last year alone. Okay, so I made up the bit about Gary Glitter. The point is, Pharrell has connections.

It was a daring choice to include Miley Cyrus on this album, considering how marmite a musician she is. She stars on the track “Come Get it Bae” which is an ode to the British aerospace company.

BAE = British Aerospace Engineering (that's what 'bae' means right?)

Now, as some of you may know, I’m a huge fan of Miley. You only need to read my review of Bangerz to realise that. Understandably, some listeners will see her presence on this album as a pitfall. I don’t see it as a pitfall. There are far greater flaws with this album.

Yes, that’s right, I think this album sadly has flaws. This will ruffle a few people’s feathers, but I think the production is an issue on G.I.R.L. Everything is a little too clean for my liking. I’m well aware of the reputation Pharrell has as a master producer, and, yes, he knows how to polish up sounds and make them crisp. However, keeping the album sounding human is important, and some of instruments have been so overproduced on this record that they might as well all have been programmed by computers.

The lyrics also get a little too dumb in places – even by pop standards. There are corny lines littered throughout this record and whilst the majority of the tracks stay classy, even Pharrell can’t make the image of a “gushing” pussy sound smooth.

Saying that, this album’s overarching positive aura cannot be ignored. If you’re feeling down in the dumps and you want something cheap and cheerful to lift your spirits, this album is the perfect prescription. “Happy” is, in my opinion, this album’s highlight and one of the best pop singles to hit the radio in months.

The appeal of this record can also be enjoyed by multiple generations. The album's got a definite retro funky flair but is equally modern through its use of urban slang and pop culture references and use of current guest stars.