This years 20/20 Experience learnt the right lessons from Justin Timberlake, take out “Happy” and Pharrell William’s Girl clocks in at a manageable 43 minutes, take out the only crap track, the Alicia Keys number and you are in under 40 minutes and a near perfect album of dance pop, each song a potential hit, every passing moment, every handclap and sound of the sea there to sink you deeper into the groove: “Happy” could be called “Hedonia” it feels so good.
Because, really, if you don’t enjoy an album with tracks as superbly crafted “Lost Queen” than you mustn’t really care too much for pop music but that song is the sound of pure pop 2014, it starts off like African pop right outta Graceland and adds dollops of soft shoe shuffle and a nursery rhyme pop vocal before the ocean front track segues into a Timberlake second movement with a dollop of Babyface in in the strings.
Yeah it is really good and it is amazing, it takes your breath away but it is like the first time you see the New York skyline and the first time you drive down Las Vegas main drag: both can take your breath away but only one has a lasting value. Girl suffers from a surfeit of good feelings but all the emotions are near the surface, nothing is built to last, these are the finite pleasures of a musical facade that once you start digging out from the myriad of tracks what’s left is a little forgettable.
Of course, Pharrell’s problem is that he isn’t Michael Jackson and so, like every single major pop star in 2014, he circles MJ. he can’t get there. The difference between Michael and Pharrell is the former was a deeply eccentric genius and the latter is a world class pop journeyman. Michael had things that took me over and that he could only express through music. Listen to “Billie Jean” for a song that seemed everywhere and nowhere, the song is so deep in the closet we still don’t know for certain what closet it is hiding in. Nothing Pharrell does, very little Timberlake, Usher, any of the pretenders do, can get beyond emotional checkers.
Girl will keep entering and leaving the public consciousness as Pharrell culls it for hits and then it will stop and we will be none the wise but somewhat the better for the experience.
Going Steady: New Singles 6-2-23 – 6-8-23 Reviewed
first rate disco pop
UK Top 10 Albums 6-2-23 – 6-8-23
what exactly does it take to have a top ten album?
UK Top 10 Singles 6-2-23 – 6-8-23
as disappointing a top ten as the year it came out in
L.A. Burning, West Coast Concert Picks, June 5th To 11th
Opening night with Janet Jackson at the Hollywood Bowl
The Early Bird: Top New Recorded Releases 6-2-23 – 6-8-23 Reviewed
a beat that captivates
Best Of 2023: Albums by Artist In Order Of Preference Through May 31st
Matt’s re-imagining of The Beatles 1965
Best Albums Of 2023: Alphabetically By Artist Ending May 31st
UK queercore duo
US Top Ten Singles Tracking 5-19-23 – 5-25-23
still crushing it at # 1
Paramore At Madison Square Garden, Tuesday, May 30th, 2023, Reviewed
Madison Square Garden get the fuck outta here