By Amber McLinden
NO_ONE EVER REALLY DIES
N.E.R.D spends the majority of their latest album, NO_ONE EVER REALLY DIES, relying on big name features to pick up the slack for otherwise lackluster tunes. With Rihanna, Kendrick Lamar, Future, Wale, Gucci Mane, M.I.A., Andre 3000, and yes, even Ed Sheeran, the rest of the album seems fragmented and rushed.
“Lemon,” the album’s first single, is an upbeat, dancefloor-worthy track, almost fully due to Rihanna’s strong rap verse. “Don’t Don’t Do It!,” in a similar scenario, has Kendrick Lamar’s part acting as the saving grace. While some tracks can stand their ground, particularly in the first half of the album, other collaborations sound out of place. Future, on single “1000,” doesn’t seem to mesh well with the rest of the track. The fast-moving beat leading into Future’s signature overly auto-tuned verses seems like a clash of styles. Overall, the album seems to be rushed along, with much of the production sounding recycled. Did “Lightning Magic Fire Prayer” really have to be nearly eight minutes long?
Perhaps the point was to sound jarring. Pharrell Williams, one half of the duo, whose name is on every track as a producer, seemed to want to create an album of protest. Unfortunately, at the end of 2017, when listeners have already heard protest songs and albums alike, it seems like the kind of thing that shouldn’t feel rushed.N.E.R.D, Pharrell, Pharrell Williams