Sunday, November 14, 2010

...Oh Yeah...It was Worth the Wait...

The best thing about N*E*R*D is that every single song on every single album is different, and every song is your favorite for as long as it plays.

Happily, "Nothing" might reflect this best of all.

It works well because one of the things I’ve always liked about Pharrell’s voice is that it’s the perfect blend and fluctuation of 60s soul, 70s funk, 80s punk, 90s smooth and 21st century pop. It sounds like everything and still completely unique and like nothing you’ve ever heard.

Musically, the Neptunes didn’t fail to recreate the magic we all love and expect. I hear it and I'm still lovely, someplace wonderful, feeling amazing. Even the hard stuff makes you feel something good. Who needs drugs or alcohol when you can get high and buzzed off the Neptunes?

So this isn’t really a review as much as it’s a ticker tape of initial reactions. It's impossible to "review" NERD, you just feel one variation of good or another about it.

And when you see the Chad Head, please know there is Chaz-ama-phone* involved and you are likely to love it automatically as a result. Oh, and I don’t know who Jason Carder is yet, but he rocks, too.

Party People

Up until now every version I heard of this song was a live performance. As it turns out, there’s all this amazing instrumentation in it that I couldn’t hear before. And it features one of the most beautiful voices in rap: T.I. Remember when celebs would record albums of children's stories?(Danny Kaye's version of "The Princess and the Pea" is still one of my favorites.) I wish T.I. would do a Dr. Seuss one.  As for Party People, play this loud first thing the morning and start your day right.

Hypnotize U

Someone called this song “NERD’s ‘African Child’”

Well, maybe. It’s different from what we’ve come to expect from the guys, but without comparing it to anything else, the song isn’t bad. I still love the music and the lyrics. And yes, his voice is high enough to make Philip Bailey angry, but I think it gives it kind of a dirty early 80s Prince “Purple Rain” feel. Unfortunately, this song kicked itself with that nightmarish Letterman performance I mentioned here. The official video was a little strange, too. I checked my mental transcript after viewing it for the first time and here’s what apparently happened in my head while watching this video.

Hunh? Skin? Wait, whoa. HOLY CRAP, IS HE NAKED?? NAKED.!! NAKED PHARRELL. NAKED SUDSY PHARRELL. Woooooo. Okay, wow, what the heck, that was like some kind of freaky… OH MY GOD NAKED… NAKEDNAKEDNAKED… SKIN… PRETTY SKIN… BODY… NIPPLES. NAKED. YEAAAAH!!! TURN AROUND AND SHAKE IT AT ME!!! YEAAAAH!! WOOOOOOO. Oh look, Shae. Haha Chad’s hat, those were cute and ha, that finger smoke is…. What the…Aww man, is he going to be naked again? WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO NAKED!! YEAH, SHOW IT TO ME…… Aww this video sucks. (Ran out of semi-nude scenes)

And there are signs of gasping, panting, excessive drooling, an accelerated heart rate and a fleeting thought about wishing to be a soap bubble. Anyway, I happen to like the song. And we should consider the video as proof that God is a woman. Or gay.

Help Me

Jim Morrison? Is that you? You look a little different. But you sound the same.


The more I listen to this song, the more I love it. And not just because of the Sha-Na-Na Bowzer sounding background vocals. And not just becaue it sounds like something my Dad would love and sing along to, but I get a little bit more lifted every time I hear it. It makes you feel like a balloon: expand, expand, expand and lightly float away into the beautiful sky. Take me to the bridge, y’all. Does anyone still say that? Man, I’m old.

Perfect Defect

If I were going to describe this in one word, I’d say “Wattstax.” If you don’t know, look it up. Or if you're lazy just click here. This song could also be the average girl’s theme song.

I’ve Seen the Light/ Inside of Clouds

Best Chaz-ama-phone ever! I will always love a song that features Chad on the sax. When he’s old, I hope he makes a CD of classic instrumentals.  As for Inside of Clouds, the first time I heard it I happen to be in the middle of writing what was turning into an angry-at-God rant. It was called “God is not a cloud” because when I was a kid, I used to think that God was literally a cloud. Oh, the serendipity. This song calmed me down, shifted my perspective and helped me redirect some of my rage a little. I needed that. Plus I think I hear a xylophone, the coolest and possibly most under-used instrument in modern music. And I love the 'kid" "screaming" and running off the bus.

God Bless Us All

I got the most amazing visual images in my head the first time I heard this. Could have been the hand claps, the sad Mariachi band, or the Marvin Gaye influenced background and vocals, but this song makes me feel sad and strong at the same time.

Life as a Fish

Life span of the earth told in 2 minutes and 37 seconds from the underwater perspective. We didn’t make it, so I guess that’s why we wreck it. Beautiful and haunting.
I know it's not really a fish, but he looks like he has an interesting story to tell.

Nothing on You

If this song doesn’t make you want to dance like “Rerun” from “What’s Happening?” I can only assume you’ve never seen the show. And Shae needs to speak more. His voice is crazy hot. Even my mom liked this one in spite of a vow to never like anything related to Pharrell. (Her favorite songs are 702’s “I still love you” Omarion’s “Touch” and Justin Timberlake’s “Senorita” but I won’t tell if you don’t.)


I swear there was a version of this song sans Nelly Furtado. And I swear I liked it better. The cool thing about this song, and I don't know if it was intentional or not, but notice the way they say "hot-n-fun." It's kind of sleepy and your drunk friend at the club pretending to still have a good time in between nodding off.

It’s In the Air

The music, lyrics, vocals, rhymes and instrumentation… this could quite possibly be one of the greatest songs ever put together in the history of music. Plus, it makes me want to smoke a hookah and do a burlesque style strip tease. Oh, and the message is good, too.

Sacred Temple

Mick Jagger? Is that you? …I really did think that was a sample of Mick’s voice but the liner notes are telling me no. In which  case, bravo Mr. Williams, outstanding vocals. The guys kept saying this album would “stimulate” the ladies. I don’t know about the rest of the album, but this song, wow. Makes your tingly parts start to tingle.

I Wanna Jam

It’s no secret that I have a special affection for drummers. But this song makes you want to find a guitarist …and do him.

The Man

Revolution! Of all the songs on this CD that make me want to run naked outside and flop in mud this one is probably the best one. You almost miss the clandestine  rant against the mass marketing of excess consumerism as a cure-all and self-identity establisher. Now pretend you didn't read that. All the muffins!

* *Bonus Tracks* * (if you can find them)

Ride That Thang

You know how there's always one song on every CD you can skip?  Mm hmm. This song sounds unfinished and like it might have possibly been a joking freestyle to an incomplete beat. It doesn't fit at all with the rest of the CD so if your version doesn't have it, you didn't miss out on anything.

This is the song they should perform when they get invited to perform at "Dancing with the Stars" because it made me want to ChaCha. Or Samba. Or Jive... whichever one has the fast kicky leg movement thing to it. Reminds me a little of the Despicable Me soundtrack, which means I love it and it's different but familiar.

* Chazamaphone, Chazamaphone...

Not old, --Classic

Chad Hugo Playing Roc Boys from Illusive Media on Vimeo.

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