Pharrell, a longtime favorite producer of mine, is releasing a new album tomorrow, entitled G I R L.
It’s release is similar to his last solo release, 2006’s IN MY MIND which could easily have ended any hopes of a sustainable solo career for Pharrell. It started with a surprise, unintentional hit. As a part of a compilation album he made as a part of his production group, The Neptunes, Pharrell dropped “Frontin” as a single, his first release as a solo artist. The song soared up the charts and became a summer hit, buoyed by the characteristics of the then popular sparse brand of space-funk he was producing for other pop artists (think Kelis’ “Milkshake”).
The past year, as a part of his work for DESPICABLE ME 2, Pharrell released “Happy” as a single. The song soared up the charts and claimed the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100, buoyed by the characteristics of the now popular melodic brand of retro-soul he was producing for other pop artists (think Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines”).
The problem with IN MY MIND was that it was overly sexual and juvenile and that the production was careful and uninspired. It was a very personal sounding album, to a fault. It was inaccessible, especially compared with his well known work for other artists. So far, looking at early reviews of G I R L, it has many of the same problems. But I have a feeling that this album will be successful, at least commercially. Even if it’s largely the same caliber of work as IN MY MIND.
Why? We’re in the middle of Comeback Season. As touched on by this Forbes article, some of the biggest hits of the past year have come from artists either making a comeback, or entering a second (or in some cases, third) phases of their careers.
It started with Justin Timberlake. Like Pharrell, his last solo release was in 2006. He spent 2013 dropping an epic double album, released in two parts, paired with instantly viral television appearances (which should continue, now that his TV buddy is host of The Tonight Show) winning awards and going on expansive tours.
The first tour was a stadium tour with hip hop buddy, Jay Z, who spent this year dropping a massive album of his own, releasing it essentially for free for Samsung users, setting new precedents for modern content distribution. This was from a rapper that, about ten years ago, declared that he has “retired” from music. His protege, Kanye West, also released a major album, his second release after his self imposed hiatus after Swift-gate - this album taking a decidedly new tone.
Jay Z’s wife released a secret album after a few years without new material.
Daft Punk returned to the top of the pop charts with RANDOM ACCESS MEMORIES, and Robin Thicke, longtime second fiddle to Justin Timberlake in the blue-eyed soul genre, finally scored a major crossover hit.
All of these artists made their bones in the pop music world during the late 90s. All of them, to varying degrees and reasoning, had departed from the music. Timberlake wanted to pursue acting. Jay Z wanted to pursue business. Beyonce had a baby. Robin Thicke never really left music, but struggled to find his niche with a few middling smooth R&B releases.
Kanye West had Swift-gate and Daft Punk’s career faltered in the tail end of the 2000s.
A combination of nostalgia for their past work and the excitement generated from new material from a familiar and trusted source served as a the secret sauce behind the tremendously successful 2013’s that Daft Punk and Timberlake enjoyed. Superstar status and arrogance made Beyonce’s and Jay Z’s efforts this year important.
I feel Thicke scored a hit largely because of our newly found appetite for pop-soul crooning, awoken by Timberlake in the winter and aided by his inability to craft a genuine summer dance jam.
And now we have 2014 and Pharrell, another respected member of the old guard - coincidentally, he played a major role in every one of those artist’s early careers. He produced hits for Jay Z and Beyonce and was the driving force behind both Thicke and Timberlake’s first major label releases. He worked closely with West and Daft Punk.
In 2013, it seemed like 2003 happened again in pop music. And in 2003, there was no better time for Pharrell to establish himself as a solo artist. The ball is in his court again.
Written by Justin J. Milliner
Earlier this morning, John Doe made his in-flesh appearance at a supermarket with a carton of brown eggs in his hand.
"He just walked on in and picked up a carton of brown eggs," Says Martha, a Tuna specialist and 12 year employee of "Maxi’s Market" on the corner of Ensure Avenue and Poise Court.
"He threw all the eggs at my face,"
Martha’s Lawyer has not released a statement because she does not have one.
More to come, stay tuned
I drink pretty often, but I almost never drink enough to be hungover. I’m of the belief that a hangover is less of a product of how much you drink as it is a manifestation of you not drinking the right way. Hangover avoidance is easy. Just make sure you’re hydrated before you drink and before you hit the hay after drinking,
But this method, though tried and true for beer drinking, never quite works for wine drinking. Whenever I drink enough wine to pass the line between sober and tipsy, I almost always wake up with a slight headache. It’s the wine-ache.
I don’t know what causes it (I do, but I don’t feel like writing about it), but it is extremely hard for me to avoid the wine-ache. It’s a very distinct, nagging headache that isn’t bad enough to bother you but is bad enough for you to notice it every so often.
There is only one known cure for the wine-ache and it’s a carefully timed combination of a warm shower, a cup of coffee and a glass of water to wash down one ibuprofen tablet.
Until next time - Justin J. Milliner
We’ve all succumb to the bizzare act of staggered text messaging.
You send your friend a text, asking them out on a date.
You realize after you sent the text that you’ve just asked someone out via text message.
So you immediately send another text apologizing for your belligerence.
By the time…
Can I ask a question? Let me ask a question. And I would genuinely appreciate it if someone answered it honestly.
My question is about bubble bath pictures. They’ve become very common place on Instagram, especially in the winter. (In the summer, they’re replaced by the “legs in the sun” shot, which I’ll write about in the summer.)
In case you haven’t seen one, or just need your memory jogged, they are point of view pictures of a woman in a bubble bath, taken by the woman. Lights can be dimmed and maybe there are some candles placed around the tub, if the edge of the tub fits in the frame of the shot.
One leg is always bent in a very specific angle, while the other is straight and usually submerged. In all cases, the bath is very thick with bubbles.
Here are my questions. When you take a bath, do you plan ahead for the prospect that you will be relaxing in just the right pose and that the bubbles with arrange themselves in just the right pattern to obscure your nude body entirely?
Or is it always staged? Looking at them, I can’t imagine that they aren’t staged. But I have never taken a bubble bath that produced enough bubbles where I can take one of these shots. I can’t imagine having enough bubbles to cover everything.
Was that a dick joke?
Meet Seth Meyers, new host of NBC’s Late Night series. Here’s him telling some rejected Weekend Update jokes.
Here’s also why I think he’s fantastic.
Privatext - around since June for Apple-folks is now launching for Android-folks. The idea is similar to SnapChat. All messages sent expire after a set amount of time, and no message sent is saved anywhere.
Perfect for sharing passwords as well as..well, as well as whatever other private things you might be up to.
A new keyboard designed for the up-and-coming smart watch market. Aligned in the classic qwerty format, but with all on one line so you can quickly type, but still maximize screen space. Watch the video and check out their website - minuum.com.
Today it was snowing as I walked to the subway. Not hard, not really. But it was fast and at an angle where it was somehow able to sneak inside the hood of my coat and up my nose and into my eyes.
The first time it snowed this winter, I took an umbrella out with me and I was so proud that I had…
Mike Francesa Struggled Putting on His Super Bowl XLVIII Earmuffs, Assures You He Doesn't Watch New Girl
New York’s No. 1 wouldn’t watch the FOX show if you paid him.
Here’s a series of photos featuring Batman doing things. Why wouldn’t you want to see it?