‘G I R L’ is all dressed up with nowhere to go

Pharrell Williams’ latest album “G I R L” gets two out of five stars.



Parker Munson, Writer

Pharrell Williams moves around so much within the music industry, the second you think you’ve got him in your sights, he’s right on to the next big thing. For instance, one of Williams’ recent smash hits, “Blurred Lines,” which he sang alongside Robin Thicke, caught a lot of flack this past summer for being what most people considered deplorably misogynous. However, Thicke was alone in the cross hairs, while Williams was out of sight probably kicking it with Daft Punk or goofing with his minions. Why didn’t Williams take any of the heat? Because he’s just too likeable.


Williams has been around since the early 2000s, working and collaborating with huge artists all across the music world — Beyoncé, Madonna, Snoop Dogg, Kanye West and The Hives, to name a few. As a performer, Pharrell has never been too successful on his own but has always played well with others, most notably The Neptunes and N.E.R.D. However, all of that took place before he came to fame as the “Despicable Me” guy. Now, at the peak of popularity he’s giving it another shot with “G I R L,” his first solo album in nine years.

Despite the title being filled with unnecessary, obnoxious spaces, it is impeccably clear as to the focus of the album’s subject matter, which is far from groundbreaking. “G I R L” is 45 minutes of regurgitated, impersonal pop songs about vain, unfulfilled love conquests. It’s cliché at best. One of the most painful moments might also be its best: when Justin Timberlake contributes on “Brand New.” Best for being sleek and catchy, just like a Timberlake song should be, and most painful when you realize you’d rather be listening to “The 20/20 Experience.”


One of the album’s most raved-about tracks, “Happy,” is a stylishly perky tune featured in “Despicable Me 2” that might just be the epitome of the childhood gag, “the song that never ends.” The 24-hour music video, in which the song loops over shots of Williams, a slew of celebrity cameos and regular folks dancing around L.A., proves that Williams is better off in the background, lest that annoying tune get lodged in your brain. Which is to say that, as a pure act of production, the song really isn’t all that bad. Put to clips of silly little yellow cartoons hitting each other over the head with hammers, “Happy” does its job right.

“G I R L” masters the art of catchy. Williams is writing songs for the dancefloor, that’s obvious. In fact, the record’s production might be its only redeeming quality. Williams’ forte is producing, afterall, and “G I R L” warrants one big, “you better stick to your day job.” 

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