Sound — 7
Pharrell Williams initially gained fame as a producer in the early 2000's, working with Nelly, Jay-Z, Snoop Dogg, Ludacris and others. He also has his rock group, N.E.R.D., as well as having composed the music for the "Despicable Me" movies. "G I R L" has 10 tracks and clocks in at a little under 50 minutes. The first single from the album was the track "Happy" which was included in the movie "Despicable Me 2." Pharrell has stated that the album is focused on making his stance towards the female gender clear after he felt it was misrepresented on the track "Blurred Lines" that he recorded with Robin Thicke. There are numerous guest artists on the album, all of which Pharrell has written or produced for in the past.
The album opens with the track "Marilyn Monroe," which has Kelly Osbourne providing background vocals and is written solely by Pharrell. "Marilyn Monroe" is a kind of love song but also harking back to Pharrell's intended statement with this album about women deserving respect. "Brand New" is next, and is co-written with Justin Timberlake. Justin Timberlake also provides guest vocals on "Brand New" and Timbaland guests doing beatboxing on this track. "Hunter," much like "Brand New" has some very strong "funk" vibes going on with it. "Hunter" has Pharrell credited as the sole writer. "Gush" is written solely by Pharrell and is, to me, the weakest track on the album - it feels like it is giving in to the pop market where most of the tracks on the album feel more honest. "Happy," the first single from the album, is next up and most people are familiar with this track, either from the music video or from "Despicable Me 2." "Come Get It Bae" is co-written by Miley Cyrus, and she also provides backing vocals on the track. It has an interesting vibe to it, with the instrumentation created by voices and clapping, mostly. "Gust of Wind" has multiple writers - Pharrell, Thomas Bengalter, and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo. Guitars on the song are credited to Francesco and guest vocals are provided on the track by Daft Punk. "Lost Queen" was co-written with JoJo, who also provides guest vocals on the hidden interlude in the track titled "Freq." "Know Who You Are" is up next, which was co-written and includes guest vocals by Alicia Keys. The album closes out with the track "It Girl," which was written solely by Pharrell. Hans Zimmer provided the string arrangements for the entire album. Guest vocals were also provided on the album by Tori Kelly and Leah LaBelle.
Lyrics — 7
Pharrell actually has a pretty good voice, especially for songs with a strong funk side to them. The guest vocalists on the album are like a who's who of R&B and pop music, but Pharrell's vocals are probably the strongest performance on the album. Here are some lyrics from the track "Marilyn Monroe": "This one goes out to all the lovers/ What can we do? We're helpless romantics/ We cannot help who we're attracted to/ So let's all dance, and elevate each other/ Dear diary, it's happenin' again/ This energy, like I'm 'bout to win/ I just close my eyes and visions appear/ She's everything I want, and it's crystal clear/ Not even Marilyn Monroe/ Who Cleopatra pleas/ Not even Joan of Arc/ That don't mean nothin' to me/ I just want a different girl/ Girl, girl, girl, girl/ Girl, girl, can't another good boy keep it this thorough/ Why, why do I have to lie/ Pretend, make believe or hide her/ When I love what I've described/ But then again, I don't need no adjectives for this girl."
Overall Impression — 7
Pharrell Williams is an interesting type of guy – he has his hands in R&B, hip-hop, EDM, rock and pop music simultaneously. This really shows on his solo album where these genres mix together from track to track to create something that is, at times, very unique. I don't know if I necessarily have a favorite song from the album, but I appreciate the general vibe of the album a lot, and especially the strong undercurrent of funk running through the whole album.