You can listen to the whole Pharrell album before it’s released March 3, 2014 on iTunes Radio. Be sure to have iTunes 11, click on Music under Library. You’ll see a Radio tab on top. Then find the album and proceed to just dance sitting down in your chair. There are more of us sit-down dancers than you know.
On a scale of curdled milk to gluten-free white bread, this album is smoked salmon. So very good. There are only 10 songs but 6 could be singles. Pharrell’s ability to make instantly appealing music and collaborate effectively with diverse artists has not diminished. He’s certainly using the momentum from his Daft Punk collaboration to his advantage. It’d be hard not to like at least one of these songs. Just give it a listen! You probably have time!
1. Marilyn Monroe (5/10)
This first track is the most experimental. It’s what would be playing if you went to a high society gala and the string quartet that was just playing Vivaldi suddenly stood up and started aggressively playing weird pop versions of ‘90s one-hit wonders with crazy smiles on their faces thinking they’re being edgy and now your evening is ruined but you’re also kind of laughing. Not sure if this was the best song to lead off with but just you wait! It does a good job of warming you up for the much better orchestral dance pop to come.
2. Brand New feat. Justin Timberlake (9/10)
This quick, jumpy, and brassy tune could be described as Jackson-esque. Although it can be repetitive, Pharrell’s and Timberlake’s alternating vocals crooning “Brand New” is enough for you to want to dance your pants off. Okay, maybe just a sock.
3. Hunter (8/10)
It’s a song you’d find on a jukebox in a modern day saloon. Despite the frisky, confident feel-good lyrics, the beat may conjure up memories of your crushes walking away from you all sassy, just after having taken all of 90 milliseconds to decide not to give you their number. And when I say “you”, I mean “me.” “Me?” you say. “Yeah, you.”
4. Gush (8/10)
Sonically similar to J.T’s “Rock Your Body” but not quite as catchy. Still catchy though. Pharrell gets dirty in this one. Also, ”Gush” rhymes with “push,” in case you want to sing out loud in front of your friends. Now you can correct them. That’s the best feeling.
5. Happy (8/10)
Obviously, pretty difficult to not feel any degree of happiness when this is on, but this is not really a song you want to play at parties unless you’re hosting your 7-yr. old cousin’s birthday party or you’re actually at one of those churches that like to force everyone to sing along, you’re exposed, and you see no viable exits.
6. Come Get It Bae feat. Miley Cyrus (7/10)
Pharrell scares us with a twangy intro that screams “country”, but this one’s actually a playful, very nod-able jam. You’ll be surprised. Miley is relegated mostly to well-timed “Hey!”s but her bit is decent. Another example of Pharrell’s prowess, range, and tolerance for annoying Disney farm fugitives.
7. Gust of Wind feat. Daft Punk (7/10)
Well-paced, danceable, but not “Get Lucky” or “Lose Yourself to Dance” danceable, with groovy background strings. This song isn’t for the cool, beautiful people with the hearts of gold grinding away in the middle of the gym at prom in full view of the teachers regretting writing their college recommendations. This is for the wallflowers poised for greatness in real life post-college. The only drawback? The auto-tuned chorus evokes the elegant sensibilities of T-Pain and Kanye.
8. Lost Queen (6/10)
Would be one of the better songs on the album if the first half of the song was extended, but that’s life. The first half is an easygoing jam with tribal drums and chanting that are not at all overpowering. You’ll feel like you’re in Africa, but not on safari because you can’t afford that. You are, nevertheless, doing the Africa smile and you didn’t even know it.
9. Know Who You Are feat. Alicia Keys (10/10)
It’s as if Billy Joel decided to do ska. This deceptively minimal production could very well be the best song on the album. Keys’ soulful vocals make more than a cameo and really liven up an already excellent song.
10. It Girl (6/10)
This one is very pop/alternative sounding. It’s a song that would play at the beginning of an Old School or Superbad type movie. The camera pans down and we see the entrance of a school. Our protagonists are walking out, pushing each other, laughing, and arguing about whose house to go to to play Mario Party. No girls allowed of course.