A Dilemma of Contrast
Some artists just need a good lyricist. The great Elton John had Bernie Taupin at his side and Peter Sinfield even illuminated the words in the early days of progressive rock pioneers King Crimson. N.E.R.D.â€šÃ„Ã´s second full length album Fly or Die is the kind of record begging for the skilled pen of a quality writer. The brainchild of superstar producers Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo, otherwise known as hit-makers the Neptunes, N.E.R.D. excels at upbeat thumping grooves and catchy melodic phrasing. Songs such as “Donâ€šÃ„Ã´t Worry About It”, “Backseat Love” and “She Wants to Move” showcase the skilled production sparingly using guitar, percussion and bass riffs yielding infectious R&B, pop-rock, hip hop tunes.Modern pop artists should take note as extra credit is deserved for Hugoâ€šÃ„Ã´s effective use of electric guitar that never hurts each songâ€šÃ„Ã´s danceability. In the aforementioned “Backseat Love” the guitar all but drives the rhythm with a twangy patient confidence. The upbeat tracks tend to fair extremely well but then one canâ€šÃ„Ã´t help but notice a line such as “I am in your aquarium/Are you are mermaid or something/Is it possible to marry one?/Big tits, a fat ass and turquoise hair” from “The Way She Dances”. Another choice example comes from the title track: “It won’t be long/Till you see me on the news/Another soul lost at sea/Were taking a cruise.” What is truly reassuring about Fly or Die is how well Hugo and Williams meld the rock and dance styles into this album. However, for maximum quality the group should consider bringing in a Bernie Taupin of their own.