As the Neptunes, Pharrell creates the foreground, a hook and some chords, leaving partner Chad Hugo to fill in the spaces. It's the marquee gig, but it's a remarkably incomplete one, as this Hugo-less album demonstrates. There's no cohesion here, only Pharrell trying to assert himself as the real brain behind the hits. It's catastrophic.
Even the Kanye collab sucks because it's not a real collaboration, it's Pharrell cock-blocking at every turn. He wants us to know this is his show alone. It's endemic of an entire album made as a monument for Pharrell Williams' insuperable opinion of himself. And it's a failure for exactly that reason.-- Luke Baumgarten & r & CHECK OUT: "Keep It Playa"
Dark Side of the Cop & lt;a href= & quot;http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/stat?id=rQy1MLe70wI & amp;offerid=78941 & amp;type=3 & amp;subid=0 & amp;tmpid=1826 & amp;RD_PARM1=http%253A%252F%252Fphobos.apple.com%252FWebObjects%252FMZStore.woa%252Fwa%252FviewAlbum%253Fi%253D129584534%2526id%253D129584529%2526s%253D143441%2526partnerId%253D30 & quot; & Dark Side of the Cop & lt;/a & 4 STARS & r & So we've already had a lot of fun with Dark Side of the Cop this week. (Starting on page 37.) In all seriousness, though, we're deeply impressed with this album. Concept aside, what oneish-man-band Marco Panella has created is a formidable stacking of melody upon melody. The whimsy of these continually morphing tunes are propelled by deliberate beats in a way that recalls the often paradoxical preoccupation of the 1980s with both lilting tunefulness and the square simplicity of electronic sounds, helping create a fully fleshed-out concept that weaves clever wordplay, ideas and colloquialisms into a uniform and lyrically cohesive narrative.
It's a simple enough story (boy follows girl to ends of earth), but it's pulled off with panache. "Shaky Little Rules" is a dyed-in-the-wool single, "Paradise Lost and Found" is a genuinely beautiful song, and "Like a Realist Painter (Interlude)" is the maker of a concept album thumbing his nose at the self-seriousness of concept albums. This is incredibly self-assured for a first record. -- Luke Baumgarten & r & CHECK OUT: "Paradise Lost and Found"