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Pharrell Williams: 'G I R L' Album Review

Ashley Velez |
March 8, 2014 | 6:09 p.m. PST

Staff Reporter

Pharrell's album cover has stirred up racial controversy after featuring three racially ambiguous women. (PharrellWilliams.com)
Pharrell's album cover has stirred up racial controversy after featuring three racially ambiguous women. (PharrellWilliams.com)
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, (or Pharrell’s Grammy hat), you've probably caught yourself doing the Carlton to Pharrell’s lead single “Happy.”

Skateboard P has officially released his album “G I R L,” a record that delivers nothing but “Happy” vibes.

Although the Twittersphere shares some opposing views about the cover art, Pharrell delivers a sweet and sexy love letter to music and all women on his latest album. The 10-track LP is the latest solo project that the singer/songwriter/producer has dropped since “In My Mind” in 2006. 

The album kicks off with “Marilyn Monroe,” where Mr. Williams mentions strong historical figures like Cleopatra, Joan of Arc and Ms. Monroe herself. Listeners would expect the song to be an ode to these femme fatales, but Pharrell tells us that the woman who has his heart cannot be defined by these standards.

In the song break, we hear “in honor of the groove and to all who surrender to it, we say thank you and we take it back.” This sets up the theme for most of the album, which is reminiscent of 70’s and 80’s funk and Motown classics. 

“Marilyn Monroe” is followed by “Brand New,” one of the most feel-good songs on the album. This contagious, Jackson 5-like track, makes the listener feel so in love that he or she can’t help but sing and dance around the room. Justin Timberlake lends his smooth vocals to the track about a woman who came along when times were dark. Both Timberlake and Williams are happily married men and because of this song it is safe to assume that their wives make them feel brand new. 

The production behind “Hunter” sounds very similar to the Diana Ross classic, “Upside Down.” The beat can make anyone move but the lackluster lyrics and vocals take away from the fun song. “Gush,” however, is without a doubt the most provocative song on “G I R L.” Pharrell has a “Mr. Williams, if you’re nasty” moment as he mentions his ability to not only romance his lady but to also get a little sexy from time to time.

"Gush" is ironically followed by “Happy,” the album’s lead single which is featured on the “Despicable Me 2” soundtrack. Despite its heavy radio play, the song is refreshing when played within the rhythm of the album.


Miley Cyrus shines on “Come Get It Bae,” another album standout. It would come as no surprise if Pharrell releases this song as the second single come April. The southern twang and handclaps add to the infectious vibe, making this song an instant radio hit. 

Skateboard P is not known for his lyrical ability but “Gust Of Wind,” featuring Daft-Punk, is the most lyrically profound song on “G I R L.” Pharrell uses natural elements like wind and air as metaphors to describe the effect that the object that his lady has on him. 

Any woman would want to be the queen who is described on “Lost Queen,” an album gem. Pharrell does a fantastic job at making his female listeners feel special on this track. The hand drums and humming loop give “Lost Queen” a laidback vibe, and its light (and sometimes cheesy) lyrics make the song enjoyable.

The song drifts into the sound of soft ocean waves and leads into “Freq,” a hidden track, featuring singer JoJo. This sultry song gives listeners a chance to relax and exhale before the album comes to an end.

Pharrell and Alicia Keys attempt to empower their female listeners on “Know Who You Are,” with light reggae vibes and inspiring lyrics. Although this may be one of the weaker songs on the album, Pharrell gives his most impressive vocal performance here. The album finishes with “It Girl,” a solid but forgettable track. It does, however, keep up the feel-good vibes that Pharrell hoped to accomplish with his ode to women.

Above all, the fantastic production behind the album stands out in every song. “G I R L” is packed with potential radio singles, hand-clappy tunes, and successfully takes listeners back to groovier times. 

Read more of NT's album reviews here.

Reach Staff Reporter Ashley Velez here.



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