N*E*R*D – Seeing Sounds
Release Date: June 10, 2008
Record Label: Interscope Records
The neurological phenomenon synesthesia was the inspiration behind N*E*R*D’s third studio album, Seeing Sounds. Synesthesia combines two senses; auditory smell, colorful hearing, etc., and that is what the genre-bending trio set out to do with their latest collection of songs.
The most popular member of the group is producer extraordinaire Pharrell Williams, whom provides the majority of the vocals. Chad Hugo and Shay Haley round out N*E*R*D, and all three play a plethora of instruments, ranging from guitars to percussion to the sax. Their debut album, In Search Of…, broke so many sonic barriers in my mind when I first heard it; it was rock, it was hip hop, and yet it was so much more, blending so many different noises and orchestrations. But while their debut thrilled me, their 2004 sophomore effort, Fly Or Die, slightly disappointed me. The group tried different things, and while some of it was great, some of it was flat and seemed like it needed some fine-tuning. Four years have passed, and with Seeing Sounds, N*E*R*D have found the perfect balance of their sound, fusing parts of In Search Of… with Fly Or Die, while creating something new.
“Time For Some Action” begins the album with a tune that sounds like the theme music from a 1950’s sitcom as Pharrell explains how he came about seeing sounds. The music transitions into a menacing guitar riff and drum beat reminiscent of the vibe from In Search Of…. The huge single, “Everyone Nose (All The Girls Standing In The Line For The Bathroom)” follows with its big club beat and catchy as hepatitis chorus. “Windows” has a funky groove to it, while “Anti-Matter” is full of punk-ass attitude. Paced by fuzzy guitars that needle in and out of your membrane, the track might be the most aggressive on the disc.
The trippy “Spaz” features a chorus that’ll hit you like a Kimbo Slice hook to the jaw. But “Sooner or Later” gives the album its chill pill; a relaxing joint that’ll take you into a dreamland until the cymbals “come crashing down” into your ear canal. The riff in “Happy” is soaring, and the hyperactive “Kill Joy” is bound to make you bust out your horrible dance moves. “Love Bomb” is soothing, as the synths and electronics used are ubiquitous. “Laugh About It” is a saucy dance number that closes out the album. This track is one of the tracks on Seeing Sounds that finally reaches the potential shown on Fly or Die.
Personally, I believe that Pharrell Williams is one of the few innovators and master minds in the mainstream today. And it shows on Seeing Sounds, an album not afraid of taking risks as it progresses and tries to push the limits on its overall vibe. Sure, the lyrics are weak, but if you’re looking to open your mind and let music encompass your senses, then Seeing Sounds is one album you need to pick up.
i don't have any of there earlier work but i think i might pick this up. the live performance of the song on the zune commercial over on MTV looks intense. theres moshing and pharell looks like hes really into it.
I'm actually glad I read this... In Search Of is one of my all-time favorite rap albums and I'm totally not digging this album but after reading everyone's comments I'm hoping it will grow on me. Some of my favorite albums took a few spins before hooking me and I hope this case is the same.
hands down so far my fav cd of 2008 so far. this album crosses ALL genres. 'you know what' is my fav and if you havent heard the b-side My Drive Thru feat Santogold & Julian (from the strokes), check it out on hypem here. http://hypem.com/track/568301 amazing