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N*E*R*D - She Wants To Move CD [Virgin]
N*E*R*D - Fly Or Die LP
Tracklist:
1. Don't Worry About It
2. Fly Or Die
3. Jump
4. Backseat Love
5. She Wants To Move
6. Breakout
7. Wonderful Place
8. Drill Sargeant
9. Thrasher
10. Maybe
11. The Way She Dance
12. Chariot Of Fire
For me the Neptunes sound was soon old after it came out, but there are a multitude of people who really rate them. Also I never really got the whole N*E*R*D thing. Yes I can understand artists wanting to branch out and explore different avenues and broaden their horizons, but so much of this N*E*R*D seems to be a substandard facsimile of better acts for whom this is their normal genre. This rock thing has been done better by rock bands and even these semi-crossovers have been better achieved by people like Jimi Hendrix or George Clinton. I get the feeling that either Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo are playing about and having a laugh doing something different, or after making millions with their now generic Hip Hop sound cynically chose to move into another area where they could extort more cash from both their existing fans and a whole lot of new ones. I guess also that their egos wanted to see themselves as frontmen rather than anonymous producers.

So having said all the above you know where I am coming from, but the first single She Wants To Move has already been a hit and no doubt their LP Fly Or Die will be a smash success as well. The LP opens up with Don't Worry About It, a track with a heavy rock guitar lick and it is certainly powerful and quite catchy at the same time, but never the less doesn't really do it for me. Well I suppose maybe I shouldn't really be commenting on a Hip Hop website as this doesn't really even pretend to e connected to Hip Hop in any way. It is rock through and through. The feel is a bit different to the first N*E*R*D LP with the band having sacked off all the musicians deciding to do everything themselves. Fly Or Die is a mish mash of styles and comes off a bit confused as the different segments of the track juxtapose against each other. Jump could be more promising with its absence of distortion and features vocals from Joel and Benji Madden of Good Charlotte. There is certainly a lot going on in all the tracks and they are without doubt engineered well, but can on occasion have too much of a theatrical or musical feel. Its all just too overdone and strained. The grooves and riffs aren't enough to sustain the tracks so many veer off towards the ends into some crazy 70's guitar solo or improv vibe. Backseat Love follows this pattern with a promising track developing in the wrong way.

After a couple of listens Breakout stands out, but more because if feels a bit more Prince like and looses the overpowering wall of sound. On the plus side whilst Pharell isn't a great singer by any stretch of the imagination at least he keeps it simple and doesn't try to get all grimey, he just does his own thing which at the end of the day is quite soothing. Wonderful Place with its whistling takes the tempo down for the mellow acoustic summery track. Drill Sargeant about his mother is another of the more pleasing tracks, but when it changes up half way through its 6 and a half minutes duration is simply comedic in its cheesy pop leanings. Across the LP you can pick out Sargeant Peppers and loads of other references, but to my ear it isn't that coherant. Thrasher is the closest they get to a Hip Hop beat. The piano bounces off the drums, but the track sounds like someone mixed the soundtrack to a musical over a Hip Hop instrumental.
 
Actually I don't know what to make of this because on some playings Maybe strikes me as altogether on another level to the rest of the tracks and not surprisingly also features additional guitar from Lenny Kravitz and drums from ?uestlove. Possibly one of the best tracks is the secret track which appears if you let the last track Chariot Of Fire play on. Overall there isn
't really anything like Run to the Sun or Bobby James on this LP and therefore is a bit of a disappointment. But then I didn't really expect a lot from this and I suppose got what I wanted. It is just tracks that I would turn over if they appeared on the radio. The album is a bit hit and miss and I'm sure would be something special for people that like this sort of thing, but it just isn't my cup of tea.

Related Links:

www.nerduk.com :: www.n-e-r-d.com :: www.virginrecords.com
 

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