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Wednesday, June 12, 2024
The Eagle

Album Review: Pharrell, "G I R L"

Pharrell’s “G I R L” is just good enough to keep the 40 year-old music industry veteran at the forefront of the pop culture landscape – no more, no less.

It’s not outstanding or revolutionary, and it won’t have the staying power of the singer-songwriter-producer at his best (Snoop Dogg’s “Drop It Like It’s Hot,” Gwen Stefani’s “Hollaback Girl,” Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky”). Nonetheless, the album has plenty to offer for fans of the throwback soul that Justin Timberlake served up with “The 20/20 Experience” last year. In fact, JT even makes an appearance on the fizzy “Brand New,” which recalls the aimless pleasures of Timberlake’s “Let the Groove Get In.” (Unfortunately, Timberlake’s newfound penchant for elongated song structure has filtered down to Pharrell as well. “Lost Queen” would be twice as good at half its eight-minute length.)

Elsewhere, the album is more ambitious aurally than lyrically. Pharrell’s production chops spice up the slinky “Marilyn Monroe” and the flirty “Come Get It Bae” (also adorned by a pleasurable guest appearance from Miley Cyrus, whom Pharrell has called his “little sister”). Daft Punk adds a dash of whirling electro-funk to “Gust of Wind.” “Hunter” features Pharrell’s impressive falsetto at its finest.

The subject matter is less impressive, though. Cheesy sex metaphors come in many flavors, none more egregious than a “Duck Dynasty” reference. Pharrell seems to have nothing more on his mind than some good old-fashioned lovin’. Though “G I R L” goes down easy and smooth, one wishes Pharrell had capitalized on this solo opportunity with more substance to go along with the abundant style.

The album’s most infectious track is also its most popular: “Happy,” a joyful ode to joy that appeared in “Despicable Me 2” and nearly won Pharrell an Oscar. It’s difficult to fault Pharrell for not taking his solo album too seriously when the result is a song as fun as this one. “G I R L” is far from revelatory, but it’s sneakily effective. As he has done since his latest blitz for pop-culture domination began with “Get Lucky” last year, Pharrell wins on charm alone. Artistic achievement is beside the point. The proof is in the pleasure.

Editor’s note: This podcast discusses topics like suicide, sexual abuse and violence.

In this episode of Couch Potatoes, hosts Sydney Hsu and Sara Winick talk about shows that are created to elicit an emotion response from viewers. Listen along as they discuss past and current trends within media, and how they have affected audiences.

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