Pharrell is Having A Good Year So Far, Here's Why

I really wish I would have bought stock in Pharrell Williams in 2012. At that time he was still a noted hip hop producer and hit maker of the previous decade, but his "cool" factor had done just that... cooled.

His rock-rap fusion group N.E.R.D. had really tried to connect with three albums of forced mosh pit sounds, but America (and the world) just wasn't buying it. His solo debut album "In My Life" (2006) also was met with a luke-warm response.

Few people realize that Pharrell has been in the music industry since he engineered Wreckx-N-Effect's worldwide smash "Rump Shaker" all the way back in 1992. Then his production team The Neptunes made waves in the 90's producing hits for Mase, Noreaga and Kelis.

So maybe, this industry is very cyclical. As soon as you count someone out, they come back with a vengeance. And a weird hat.

So 2013 saw the release of Robin Thicke's crossover, game-changing "Blurred Lines" which Pharrell produced with a beat that sounded awfully similar to Marvin Gaye's "Got To Give It Up." The copyright controversy, the suggestive, date-rapey lyrical controversy and the risque VMA performance all contributed to making "Blurred Lines" song of the year.

Then Daft Punk returned after 8 years of near silence to drop their smash hit "Get Lucky," complete with seductive vocals by Pharrell. This song also stuck a chord with the world, making the two top tracks of 2013 helmed by Pharrell.

His 2014 Grammy's performance was also talk of the internet due to his weird, Buffalo hat which made him look like an urban "mountie." The hat was later auctioned off for well over ten grand.

This brings us to the old adage of striking while the iron is hot. Pharrell just released his new album G I R L which features guest spots from Daft Punk, Miley Cyrus, Alicia Keys and more. It tends to lean toward Pharrell's more R&B sounds with nary a rapper cameo on the whole record.

However, this is Pharrell's bread and butter and he sounds at home on the massive hit "Happy," the disco thumping "Gust Of Wind" and the sunset reggae of "Know Who You Are." It only falters on the Neptunes-esque Casio corn of "Hunter" which is bogged down by misogyny that he must have inherited from his sessions with Robin Thicke.

All in all G I R L is a rewarding, if not completely executed project from the hit maker of 2013-14. I give it 3 and 1/2 Empty Lighthouses out of 5.

Check out Pharrell Williams and the new album G I R L here: http://pharrellwilliams.com