05/03/2014
2013 was year of The Pharrell. Creative/innovator/extraordinaire, last year saw Williams sing on the year’s two biggest records.

Words by

Tamara Vogl

His work on Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories resulted in a storm of shiny accolades including four Grammys. The second track, 'Blurred Lines', however, found the artist defending a contentious song that had been banned by several university student unions and declared as one of the most controversial songs of the decade.

The subject of 'Blurred Lines' remains debated, but with lyrics such as “I'll give you something big enough to tear your arse in two,” Robin Thicke and Pharrell became the target of fuming feminists worldwide, many declaring the track as anything but pro-women. The latter claim stands in contradiction to Pharrell’s first solo studio album in eight years; one which he says is devoted to the fairer sex. 

“When Columbia Records presented me with the opportunity to make an album…I instantly knew it would be called G I R L,” Pharrell explains. Further stating that “women are the cornerstone” of his existence, the spaces between the album title in capital letters represent that “there’s an imbalance in society about the way we treat women”.

Framing your first album in a near decade as a female-centric record off the back of your involvement with the biggest song of 2013, which was also labelled as exceedingly sexist, is no easy feat. However, with an impressive combination of collaborators including Alicia Keys, Miley Cyrus, Justin Timberlake and BFFs Daft Punk, coupled with a contagiously euphoric Oscar-nominated hit, stands for the best possible antidote to any lingering hate.  

Happy is indeed the highlight track. There is something to be said about music that serves as an instant pick-me-up. The Motown laden song is brilliant in its use of ethereal gospel harmonies and groovy (there is no other word) beat. Topped with Pharrell’s signature falsetto voice, there are many reasons why this song has been embraced worldwide and why he was invited to perform it at the Oscars.

'Gust of Wind' and 'Gush' follow closely. The former relies on ‘70s funk bass lines woven under rich and deep staccato string sections. Invoking an aesthetic palette similar to 'Beyond' from Random Access Memories, it's an appropriate track to reunite with Daft Punk. With lush orchestrations, 'Gush' is a hedonistic song with neo-soul and funk influences. It has to be noted that Pharrell is the ONLY person who can get away with the lyrics, “make the pussy just gush”. 

Leave a comment

Related

With peaks and troughs.
Is it still relevant to rap about gangsta shit?
Now Pharrell can add environmental designer to his resume.
Norwegian electronic duo Royksopp and Swedish pop icon Robyn have joined forces on the five-track Do It Again.
What do you do after you release an album as critically acclaimed and commercially successful as The Black Keys’ last album, the...
Few Australian albums have been as highly anticipated in recent memory as this debut album by Chet Faker. Few artists have...
After bursting onto the scene with hit Smile back in 2006 via debut album Alright, Still and consolidating her reputation as pop...
After the success of Dan Sultan’s second album, Get Out While You Can, expectations for his third studio album Blackbird were...
I'm simply too far removed from the hip hop scene to conclusively state that being an openly gay rapper is taboo, but to the...
Foster The People’s sophomore album, Supermodel, arrives almost three years after its predecessor, Torches. For their latest...
Once in a while an album comes along that contains an unexpected and refreshing sound.
Phantogram aren’t shy about holding up their black mirror, its warts-and-all reflections cast against ice-cold yet inviting...
Warbling strings drench throughout St Vincent, invoking memories, demented, of Disney scores, iconoclastic and nostalgic.
Japanese art-rockers Bo Ningen create music that is so intensely thought-provoking that after listening to Line The Wall you will...
Apart from having one of the greatest band names around, Snakadaktal are actually one of the most consistently enjoyable bands to...