Music reviews and top spotify playlist from Nialler9
Mr Williams and his giant hat have been all over the place in the last year and a half, engineering hits for Robin Thicke, singing on the song of last summer, Get Lucky, releasing his own album, and most recently, turning 40 while still looking like a skateboard kid. Good genes and good tunes. Here are ten tracks of note Pharrell has had a hand in since changing the sound of pop with The Neptunes in the late-90s.
Old Dirty Bastard feat. Kelis: Got Your Money
There was a time where the song was basically a requirement at every club in the land.
N.E.R.D.: She Wants To Move
Yes, that is Britain's Got Talent judge Alesha Dixon in the video.
Snoop Dogg feat. Pharrell: Drop It Like It's Hot
It's some sort of production genius to make a beat out of tongue clicks.
Gwen Stefani: Hollaback Girl
This shit is bananas. B-A-N-A-N-A-S. This still sounds futuristic 10 years later.
Became an instant classic the day it was released in 2003.
More minimal bass and beat sumptuousness.
Britney Spears: Boys
The song was originally intended for Janet Jackson.
Future: Move That Dope
Pharrell rapped for the first time in ages this year and equipped himself well among some heavy-hitters.
Luckily for Pharrell, Cee Lo Green passed on this song, which means Cee Lo is almost directly responsible for Pharrell crying on Oprah.
Justin Timberlake: Rock Your Body
The perfect curtain closer to any good night out, because it holds the key to a dancefloor by encouraging the boys and girls to mingle.
The Black Keys: Turn Blue
Album number 7 from The Black Keys – El Camino – proved lucky alright, catapulting Auerbach and Carney to a whole new level of success. So, once you've hit upon a successful formula, stick with it, right? Well, in the case of Turn Blue, no not really. If the hypnotisingly simple cover wasn't enough of a clue, bluesy psychedelia is the order of the day. And those seeking the punchiness of a Lonely Boy or Gold on the Ceiling may have to look elsewhere.
There's an enjoyable air of menace on In Time, while subtle groove, and baby-making falsetto are the order of the day on Turn Blue. Bullet in the Brain is one of a couple of numbers that nod to Pink Floyd. With a core line-up of just two, and a fondness for the Blues, Carney and Auerbach's influences have always been visible just below the waterline. But they're in plain sight on opening track, Weight of Love.
The two-minute intro lurches from a fairly strong imitation of Floyd's Wish You Were Here to the loping bass of Air's La Femme d'Argent and winds up giving us the longest Black Keys track to date. Fever, with its earworm organ line is the closest we get to a dancefloor-filler here. The problem with Turn Blue is it has seen The Black Keys lose some of what made them stand out.
Chromeo: White Woman
Montreal synthfunk pair Chromeo return with their fourth album and the most eyebrow-raising title since R Kelly dropped Black Panties. Shiny and sleek pop introduces us to White Women, with the ready-made for radio Jealous. Four tracks in, and this is a pure party record. Albeit a party of two, and mostly horizontal. But the pace drops when Solange guests on the Robyn-esque Lost on the Way Home, and from there the album loses momentum. The best tracks on White Women echo Chic and Hall & Oates and will make you cut a rug. Sadly, there are two or three too many that leave you heading back to the bar.
Nick Mulvey: First Mind
Nick Mulvey has had a long journey to his debut album. From Havana to Switzerland, via a Mercury nomination and a band split, Mulvey would have every right to sound weary on First Mind.
While he may echo the late hours finger-plucking of Nick Drake or Jose Gonzales in places, there is very much a strong pulse to his debut album. Mulvey shows his Latin education on Juramidam, quotes 90s dance anthems, and brings a Foals-unplugged air to the excellent Cucurucu. The one man and his guitar (for the most part) rarely lapses into morose balladeer mode.
Super Furry animals: Radiator
In a parallel universe the biggest band to come out of what was dubbed Britpop was not Oasis or Blur, but Super Furry Animals. This rag-tag quintet of red-eyed Welshmen were signed to Oasis', Creation Records.
The Furries were a band that never really fit the Britpop tag. Their use of samples, electronic beeps, loops, and esoteric Gruff Rhys lyrics truly set them apart from the rest.
When a band gets you to sing along to a Welsh language track (Torra Fy Ngwallt Yn Hir) or has you stomping to Hermann Loves Pauline, they're truly onto something.
The last three tracks of Radiator serve as one big rallying cry against the rabble. The line "I think he might have just snorted a blizzard" from Down A Different River sounds like it was born at a Creation party. An epic tune and worthy of exalted status, it leads us into Download. Just a month after Tony Blair's hideous drinks reception, hearing of the "corporate rush to devour the new" is almost chilling. Finishing on Mountain People, the band celebrate their distance from the Camden-as-new Carnaby St guff of the music press. Being tucked away in Wales was to aid their growth, not hamper it.
First published in INSIDER Magazine, exclusive to Thursday's Irish Independent