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Pharrell's come up with a golden girl

Pharrell Williams G I R L (Columbia)

A mistake, this age is no golden . . .

Whoa! Hold up. Let's remix that intro. 1-2-3-4 . . . This is a Golden Age, no mistake.

That's better. A golden age of pop. And the latest creator of pocket symphonies, that soundtrack our day from cornflakes to cocktails, is a 40-year-old cat in an outsized Vivienne Westwood Buffalo hat.

There's nothing come lately about Pharrell Williams. While this is just his second solo album, his fingerprints have been all over big choons since he began learning his craft with Swingbeat king Teddy Riley more than 20 years ago.

He kept busy, both as part of The Neptunes and N.E.R.D., writing producing and recording.

In the past 12 months he's been in our lives with Daft Punk's Get Lucky and Robin Thicke's Blurred Lines. He turned up on the Miley Cyrus album Bangerz, 12 years after he had a global number one production with Britney Spears I'm A Slave 4 U.

If you're not dizzy already, then the Hollywood-style orchestral opening to Marilyn Monroe, which introduces G I R L, will put you in a spin as it revisits a groove you'll associate with Michael Jackson's Off The Wall.

Not a conventional singer, Williams employs a falsetto that's endearingly part Jacko, part Flava Flav. And he knows what works. So genre spotters will rejoice in detecting everything from beatboxin' to Quiet Storm, hip house to vintage disco, across these 10 tracks.


A few friends help out, too. Justin Timberlake trades off vocal riffs on the glitterball anthem Brand New. Miley responds to cries of "Come get it babe, you want to ride my motorcycle" with its big bass drum and springy rhythm guitar. Sounding suitably robotic, Daft Punk hook up with Pharrell again on Gust of Wind ("You blow me away").

Highlights include the mega-hit Happy and Lost Queen, an epic mid-tempo eight minutes that spans continents, planets and levels of consciousness.

Warning: be careful if you're listening to this on a headset. You're likely to find yourself bustin' a move in an inappropriate situation. HHHHI