While I've listened to a decent amount from N.E.R.D., I am humbly admitting that I did not know this was a full-on funk band. Sorry folks - I do remind you I'm no expert on the front page!
The album's meant to be the bands' 'alignment with the world today.' It's meant to be a time capsule of sorts on the state of the world today, so people in 10 years can... well, see how screwed up either they are or we were. It's an attempt at showing this era.
Follow along on Spotify. :)
"Party People" brings on an immediate bass and, well, party. Seriously, everything's about getting moving and spotting the one you'll be with for the night on the dance floor. And that beat and repetition doesn't stop throughout the entire song, which also features T.I. rapping about three-quarters of the way in. I'd say it's a boring dance-floor song that gets old eventually, but there are these little inserts that keep things interesting, and the dancers on their toes. And then there's the horns, which are subtle (odd for horns) but so kickin' and vital.
Not a bad groove going for "Perfect Defect." I know that there's been other poignant messages in some of the other song, but this is a pretty good one to comment on our times with. There's very much a movement on accepting yourself and others these days - it's almost like that is vital for young people to accept themselves, to be told constantly how accepted they are, despite their flaws. I could be off, but that's what I'm getting.
"I've Seen The Light / Inside of Clouds" is lost on me, other than this sweet sax line following throughout that you wouldn't notice unless you were sort of zoning out of the rest. It's a good interlude song though, sort of just falling in the middle and moving onto the next, without much emphasis on making you listen intently.
Oh you know there's got to me something to "God Bless Us All." The sound at the get-go alone is just twisted enough to tell us so. There's some great harmonies as it builds into the chorus. Then it twists again, which is largely due to the horns. The whole song winds up being some kind of message to colored kids standing up for themselves and pursuing what they want. Maybe that won't make sense in the future, for better or worse, but the words are being put out there.
"Life As A Fish" brings in the religious/evolution debates of today. Yah know, the more I get into what each song's about, and as you accept the idea of the time capsule of today, the more this album gets interesting. While this song isn't appealing musically really (interesting, just not entirely repeatably appealing), that realization is cool enough to keep pressing through.
Time to get groovy again. "Nothing On You" is another devotion to a girl, which doesn't help my argument from the last song. It doesn't make a for a bad song though. Subject-wise, this is just like every other damn song playing in the clubs, and most radios for that matter. Musically, it's totally different in every way, and that, at least, is a really redeeming factor.
"Hot-n-Fun" makes a good point - "people don't wanna think no more, they just wanna feel." There's something entirely old school and awesome about this song, even if it's just about insane partying. Maybe it's the addition of the piano, or that Nelly Furtado's involved in the whole thing. Parts are repetitive enough to know the song, but not so looped that you get bored quickly. Damn, this one needs to get played just a little more often when we're out and about.
"Sacred Temple." Don't think I'm crazy, or... well, at least hear me out. This sounds like KoRn, and I say that as a fan. There's just something in those whispers that scream it. It's girl-related, and there's some really strange shifts in musical elements throughout - even reaching into this almost Egyptian sound. "Miami" without the silly.
Listen to "I Wanna Jam" and tell me that line about "teenagers takin' over the world" doesn't sound familiar. I can't explain it. Oh well. From experience of working with today's teenagers, this is a pretty accurate description of them. They're far too mature for their own good, and therefore becoming the major group to target to sell to. It's just a weird but true phenomenon. I still can't figure out where they get the money.
"The Man" just strikes you from the title as a good close-out song for the album of this nature. The beat's sort of weird and sexual, but I guess in the end it all winds up making some kind of sense. Maybe it's just got too weird a vibe to really enjoy, but there is an ending quality to it as we check-out on this album.
Added To My Playlist:
- "Perfect Defect"
- "Life as a Fish"
Welp, it wasn't a favorite, but was, by far, one of the most interesting pieces I've heard - perhaps ever. It makes for a really good look at our time, if you're taking the time to listen. If you're not? It's still fantastic to put on while you're around with some friends for the night. Either way, this one was good. Real good.