Release Date: Jun 10, 2008
Record label: Interscope
Genre(s): Rock, Alternative, Rap
P.O.S. :: Chill, dummyDoomtree RecordsAuthor: Patrick TaylorI've been a fan of Stefon "P.O.S." Alexander since his debut nearly 10 years ago. On "Audition" and 2009's "Never Better," he proved himself to be one of the few artists who could successfully meld punk rock and hip-hop. Fellow Minnesotans ….
”Motherf—er, are you ADHD?” That’s what N.E.R.D. ask on ”Anti-Matter.” It’s a question that can be thrown back at Pharrell Williams, Chad Hugo, and Shae Haley, given third LP Seeing Sounds‘ dizzyingly — and at times fantastically — short attention span. ”Anti-Matter” sets rap to Jack White-style guitar fuzz; ”Windows” suggests what it’d be like if Gnarls Barkley covered ”My Sharona”; and the ballad ”Sooner or Later” climaxes in a Prince-ly guitar solo.
Singers and rappers looking for hits don't go to Pharrell Williams for power pop pumped full of steroids, elaborately arranged baroque pop, mosh-inducing guitar assaults, songs about women doing coke in bathrooms, or philosophical ruminations. Williams, along with fellow Neptune Chad Hugo and longtime associate Shay continue to use N.E.R.D. as an outlet for all the stray ideas that leave sales and airplay considerations in the dust.
When N.E.R.D. started as a vanity project for the Neptunes (plus pal Shae) back in 2001, the original conceit was to make genre-bending music that would make rap palatable to rockists and rock palatable to hip-hop heads. In practice, this resulted in a band mixing trite hip-hop vocals with goofy hair-metal riffs, and made for one record that was middling at best (2002’s In Search of…) and one god-awful (2003’s Fly or Die).
N.E.R.D's third album, an "Anti Matter" suggestion that devotees "tilt your head back and close your eyes" and try Seeing Sounds, bangs frantic enough to entice one serious auditory seizure. These guys can't sit still. Hollering "Everybody let's go," the rave-ready "Kill Joy" keeps pace with coke-conscious rattler "Everyone Nose (All the Girls Standing in the Line for the Bathroom)," lapping thanks-for-trying vox from Pharrell Williams on the soulfully descended melody of "Sooner or Later" and trumpet-crutched "Love Bomb." Williams and Chad Hugo post up contemporary disco dancehall, grooving out on "Laugh About It" and pulling Williams' signature falsetto ("Yeah You"), but true Neptunes m.o.