July 13, 2008
"Seeing Sounds" Review
i actually wrote this the week the album was out but what can i say? it slipped my mind and i'm a busy lady. better late than never.
N*E*R*D - Seeing Sounds
I’ve always been a fan of N*E*R*D – so my (humble little) album review may be slightly biased – but I will say with journalistic integrity that the growth of this band can not be argued regardless of whether or not you like them.
iTunes tells me this album is in the “rap” genre which strikes me as strange because the previous albums are typically classified as a mash of hip hop, funk, alt rock and pop music.
Seeing Sounds further establishes N*E*R*D as a stand-alone band. With each new album, they fine-tune their sound in a way that doesn’t stray too far from their roots – which will eventually piss off your original fanbase – so nobody wants to do that.
Any of the songs I was on the fence about end up getting the better of me in the form of an unexpected melodic interlude. Pharrell does that a lot. And he does it well.
1. Time For Some Action – typical intro song equipped with a spoken prelude from Pharrell and follow by an o.k. song.
2. Everyone Nose (All The Girls Standing In The Line For The Bathroom) – great first single. One of those songs you like the first time you hear it. And if you don’t like it the first time you hear it, you at least remember it.
3. Windows – this song is cool because there’s a kind of doo-wop hook going on that’s reminiscent of 50s pop music.
4. Anti Matter – this song would have been my prediction as the second single had they not decided to go with “Spaz”. I can’t tell if I like it or not. So I guess that means I don’t dislike it.
5. Spaz – I can’t deny the beat in this song but it’s just okay for me. It’s one of those things when you’re like “wait, I’ve heard this before. How do I know this song?”. And the answer is that it’s used in so many promos and commercials that it leeches itself onto your subconscious.
6. Yeah You – like this one a lot. I wake up and find myself singing it in the shower. There’s a great saxophone part that Pharrell sings over in the exact same melody. The lyrics will remind you of “You’re So Vain” by Carly Simon and that shit will get into your brain. Trust.
7. Sooner or Later – ah the obligatory album opus. Similar to “Wonderful Place” (on the Fly or Die album) but not as magnificent. I still like it.
8. Happy – oh my god this song sounds like it’s straight out of RENT. Believe it or not, I meant that as a compliment. “Happy” has this guitar/synthesizer thing going on that is so 90s it’s unbelievable. I commend them for going there. No Shame.
9. Kill Joy – and this one sounds like it could be by The 5th Dimension circa 1974.
10. Love Bomb – everyone needs a politically charged song these days, right? This track is one of the softer ones but also one of my faves.
11. You Know What – fave song on the album. I just like it. The beat is catchy, the guitar is funky and Pharrell gets personal with the lyrics. That’s how I like my N*E*R*D: funky, catchy and sexy
12. Laugh About It – not a bad track. I like listening to it when I have the album playing straight through but it’s also the song you can kind of do without when you’re driving, drinking coffee and trying to shuffle through your CDs for the next one to pop in knowing full well that this album is almost over. You know if there is someone sitting shot-gun they already made their choice and are politely waiting for this song to end before getting impatient and just popping it out. This is a good song for that situation.
Generally speaking, I don’t understand why N*E*R*D uses their hop-hop influenced songs as singles. For a production team (The Neptuens) and record label (StarTrek) that is so spot-on when it comes to marketing their associates, they seem a little in the dark about their own endeavors Don’t get me wrong, “She Wants To Move” was a brilliant pop song and probably their most successful single with the general market. The previous hits “Lapdance” and “Rockstar” were good but a little more niche. The thing is, the band has so much rock and funk flowing through all their albums that’s it a shame we don’t get to hear those singles on the radio. Pharrell, Chad, Shae – my recommendation is for you guys to capitalize on rock stuff more so people understand the uniqueness that N*E*R*D brings to the industry.
4 out of 5 stars
go buy the damn album or ask me to send you the files. word.
oh Pharrell, the things i would do to you...