Have you heard Pharrell’s new album, GIRL, yet?
You’ve no doubt heard a song from it- “Happy.” Everyone has heard “Happy” by now. Your mom has, your youngest cousin has, your dog has.
Even Vladimir Putin, sitting in his Fortress of Solitude in Russia has heard “Happy.” I mean, just look at him.
That’s a guy who loves him some “Happy.”
And how could he not? How could anyone not love that song? It’s catchy, fun, lively. Any wedding you go to this summer will have the following three things: a drunk uncle, a cake and “Happy” played at once. At least once. If there’s a cocktail hour, that could change.
But what about the rest of GIRL? Is “Happy” an anomaly track or a tone-setter?
It’s a tone-setter. Oh it’s a tone-setter for sure.
GIRL might be one of the easiest albums to listen to I’ve come across in years. It’s essentially ice cream for your ear holes or a 24 hour marathon of Parks and Recreation– just endless & guiltless enjoyment. God it makes you wish Mr. Justin Timberlake would lose Timbaland’s phone number when he decided to record a new album in ten years and work with Pharrell again. On GIRL, long gone are Pharrell’s rap super star ambitions and coming in hot like a tasty burrito is his desire to make widely acceptable and massively enjoyable pop music in the vein of some of the greats- Michael Jackson, Prince and Marvin Gaye. Pharrell’s improved falsetto shimmies and shakes from start to finish on GIRL. “Happy” anchors the album, but other highlights are “Hunter,” “Lost Queen,” “Come Get It Bae,” and “Brand New,” which features Timberlake.
How delightful of an album is GIRL?
Well, listening to it could make these twenty things far more enjoyable…
1. Reading about Putin and the Russian invasion/non-invasion of Crimea
2. Listening to sports talk radio hosts discuss bullying
3. Killing time in between episodes of True Detective
4. Killing time in between reading recaps of True Detective
5. Sifting through True Detective theories
6. Cursing the snow
7. Watching the Philadelphia 76ers play basketball
8. Cursing the cold
9. Making student loan payments
10. Watching the latter two thirds of this year’s Oscars
11. Reading right wing criticism of President Obama’s handling of the Russian invasion/non-invasion of Crimea
12. Hate watching the last episode of The Bachelor
13. Trying to make your dog take her medicine
14. Sitting in traffic
15. Cursing this whole effin’ winter
16. Trying to erase Gangster Squad from your memory
17. Pre-spring cleaning
18. Getting your tax info ready
19. Not getting your tax info ready and plotting your sneaking away to Mexico
20. Reading some of Donald Trump’s tweets
Any of those things could be made instantly better, or at the very least, comfortably tolerable if done while listening to GIRL.
Yet there is one looming pitfall when it comes to GIRL.
It’ll get old fast. I don’t think it’ll have the staying power of say, a Justin Timberlake album. It’s too simple, to of the moment. It’s fleeting. GIRL could have benefited from someone like Daft Punk helping out- someone to add some layers to it.
But I don’t think that’s what Pharrell wanted. I don’t think he was interested in layers, I think he was interested in creating a mood and accompanying that mood with a quality sound track. So what if moods are temporary. If a mood is good enough, it’ll be back.
And GIRL will be back.
It’ll fade eventually; get lost amongst your Spotify playlists. But it’ll be there when you need it most, when that certain mood strikes you and all you want to do is feel great, feel full of life and feel triumphant. It’ll be there when the sun is shining, when you’re dancing with your significant other, when your sitting on a beach or loosing yourself at a wedding. It’ll save you from traffic, from in laws, from the stifles & pitfalls of life.
GIRL will be there.
GIRL will be there when you need it most.
And you have Pharrell to thank.