Pharrell Williams – G I R L


Pharrell WilliamsG I R L Columbia 88843 05507 2 (2014)

Renowned music producer Pharrell Williams has been one of the most identifiable voices of American pop music in the preceding decade or so.  Recording as a solo artist, though, something is lacking most of the time.  The hit single “Happy” is here, and it is about 100 times better than anything else on G I R L.  It takes the positive energy of OutKast‘s “Hey Ya!” and applies a more laid-back vibe.  The thing is that happiness is for idiots.  The way Pharrell sings about it, the concept is nothing more than jouissance, that is, a death drive for excess enjoyment beyond simple plaisir (pleasure), which in the end leads to pain.  Or at least, so says psychoanalysis.  The rest of the songs have lame lyrics, and a tentative delivery that lacks music commitment from Pharrell.  The backing music is fine.  It isn’t innovative.  This guy has been doing this stuff for a decade.  But most feel like only sketches of songs not fully developed.  All together, it hardly gets beyond the hit single.  Pass on this, and stick just with “Happy.”