In My Mind

In My Mind

4.5 9
by Pharrell Williams
     
 

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Pharrell Williams, one half the prolific Neptunes production team, may have missed an opportunity to really cash in on the momentum of his hit collaborations with Gwen Stefani on "Hollaback Girl" from her debut, Love Angel Music Baby, and "Can I Have It Like That." Coming nearly a year after the buzz of those hits has cooled, In My Mind shows WilliamsSee more details below

Overview

Pharrell Williams, one half the prolific Neptunes production team, may have missed an opportunity to really cash in on the momentum of his hit collaborations with Gwen Stefani on "Hollaback Girl" from her debut, Love Angel Music Baby, and "Can I Have It Like That." Coming nearly a year after the buzz of those hits has cooled, In My Mind shows Williams can still produce great '80s-synth driven, falsetto-heavy R&B and charming, if awkwardly delivered, hip-hop flows. Partnered with Kanye West on the breezy "Number One," Pharrell showers a special boo with earnest come-ons. It's Williams's most reliable shtick and main preoccupation: playing the well-funded, sensitive ladies man. "I'm part Howard Hughes, part horny, part holy," he raps on the up-tempo "How Does It Feel?" Throughout the disc, there's no shortage of Williams referencing his Range Rovers, frequent exotic vacations, and blinged-out watches. "I know I got jewels like I'm the pharaoh of the ghetto," he boasts over the jangly rhythms of "Raspy Sh**." But Williams finds his groove as the playboy with a heart, especially in contrast to his big-rolling partners, including Snoop Dogg ("That Girl"), Nelly ("Baby"), and Jay-Z ("Young Girl"). At times, his lyrics sound like they came straight from an R. Kelly manual. "Take it off now girl / I can help you slide them panties off," he sings over the slinky slow jam "Take It Off." But, salacious leanings notwithstanding, the track is an example of Williams's ultimate strength: balancing frothy, pop sensibility and lush orchestration, Pharrell has enough production smarts and offbeat personality to make In My Mind well worth the wait.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Andy Kellman
The idea of an all-Pharrell album is natural and unnatural in roughly equal measure. Half of the extremely successful Neptunes production team, as well as a collaborator who has been deployed for countless guest verses and vocal hooks, Pharrell has been a regular presence on radio stations and video programs for several years. As of late 2005, however, there was only one single -- the summer 2003 smash "Frontin'" -- the man could call his own. You'd think he would've been on his second or third solo album by the time the decent In My Mind was released in July 2006, but Pharrell has always considered himself a producer/songwriter first, a background figure who isn't a singer -- and, for that matter, he's not much more than a competent MC. If he weren't so crafty at his primary calling, he'd be relying almost exclusively on his charm and sex appeal. Perhaps this partly explains why In My Mind took so long to materialize. In interviews, Pharrell seemed more exhausted than excited and indicated that the album was too much of a compromised process. While the album never sounds as if less than 100 percent was put into it, a large chunk of the material is second rate compared to his past highlights ("Frontin'" included), and it's no help that the tracks tapped as singles are some of the weakest moments (as was the case with the first version of the first N.E.R.D. album). Produced entirely by Pharrell, with guest appearances from several of the high-profile artists (Jay-Z, Kanye West, Snoop Dogg, Gwen Stefani, Nelly, Slim Thug, Clipse's Pusha T) whose careers have been boosted by the Neptunes, the album is divided in half between R&B and rap, at least if you go by Pharrell's singing-to-rapping ratio. Those who have been wanting to hear more of Pharrell's softer side will be pleased with the direction the album takes during the latter half, where his usual cocky demeanor is tempered by some loverman vulnerability. Just the fact that the album contains over an hour of Pharrell will be enough to attract scores of his fans, and it's not like any part of it is flat-out poor, but it's a shame it didn't turn out better. [The album has three different covers. The content does not vary.]
Los Angeles Times - Richard Cromelin
1/2 The album's high points have the invention and urgency, if not quite the eloquence, of another producer-turned-artist, Kanye West.... This one is too hot to drop.

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Product Details

Release Date:
07/25/2006
Label:
Interscope Records
UPC:
0602498870167
catalogNumber:
000569802

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. Can I Have It Like That  - Pharrell Williams
  2. How Does It Feel?  - Pharrell Williams
  3. Raspy ****  - Pharrell Williams
  4. Best Friend  - Pharrell Williams
  5. You Can Do It Too  - Pharrell Williams
  6. Keep It Playa  - Slim Thug
  7. That Girl  - Pharrell Williams
  8. Angel  - Pharrell Williams
  9. Medley  - Pharrell Williams
  10. Take It Off (Dim the Lights)  - Pharrell Williams
  11. Stay With Me  - Pusha T
  12. Baby  -  Nelly
  13. Our Father  - Pharrell Williams
  14. Number One  - Kanye West
  15. Skateboard P Presents: Sow You How to Hustle  - Pharrell Williams

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Album Credits

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