Monday, May 12, 2014

Is Pharrell Williams incapable of writing intros?

As well as being the owner of a magnificent hat, Pharrell Williams is a brilliant and prolific songwriter. In fact, he's one of the most consistent producers/composers in the business, racking up hits for everyone from Beyonce to Britney to Justin to Jay-Z and, more recently, himself.

But here's the thing: He's rubbish at writing intros. Take a listen to his new album, GIRL, and seven of the 10 tracks start exactly the same way. He takes the first beat of the first bar, loops it four times, then goes straight into the song.

It's not a bad technique - for one thing, you get to the melody quicker, and that is a sure-fire way of making your song memorable and radio friendly - but when it's used to such a ridiculous extent, it starts to lose its effect.

Looking back through Pharrell's production catalogue, both by himself and with the Neptunes, it turns out he's been employing the trick since his first hit in 1993 - SWV's Right Here. Here's a short mix that proves it.

The 13 songs in the mix are:

1) SWV - Right Here
2) Jay-Z - Frontin'
3) Kelis - Milkshake
4) Snoop Dogg - Drop It Like Its Hot
5) Robin Thicke - Blurred Lines
6) Shakira - Why Wait
7) Frank Ocean - Sweet Life (this one is especially lazy)
8) Pharrell Williams - Brand New
9) Paloma Faith - Can't Rely On You
10) Pharrell Williams - Happy
11) Pharrell Williams - Hunter
12) Jay-Z - I Wish
13) Pharrell Williams - Gust Of Wind

And once you notice, it's impossible to un-hear it, so I apologise in advance for ruining all future enjoyment of Pharrell's music.

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