New Music Review: Pharrell and American Authors

Pharrell

Pharrell Williams

Just A Guy looks at the new music that has been released this week. Today (a full day early) we’re checking out new releases from music titan Pharrell Williams and from up-and-comers American Authors. 

Pharrell Williams is one of my favorite musical figures of my lifetime. He’s produced hit after hit after hit. He produced seemingly every hip-hop song I like from 2000-2006 with the Neptunes. His work with NERD was borderline amazing as the band continued to evolve and reinvent itself with each release. His debut solo effort, 2006’s In My Mind, wasn’t well received, so Williams simply took a while off, came back and made chart smashers with Daft Punk and Robin Thicke. If you’ve never heard Pharrell, you’ve heard Pharrell.

Pharrell released a new album Monday (he pushed the release cycle up a day) titled GIRL, that will stay on your playlist from now until Memorial Day. It’s got features (from Justin Timberlake and Alicia Keys), it’s got Pharrell going solo (“Hunter” sounds like it’s straight off a 1970’s Stevie Wonder album) and it’s got that song from Despicable Me 2 (“Happy”) that got Williams an Oscar nomination. The man is in a good spot right now.

Williams stated himself that the reason In My Mind didn’t take off because he was being dis-genuine. GIRL is the opposite then. Pharrell is a modern day crooner. Predictably, GIRL, is sung for and about women. This is the real Pharrell Williams. It’s a throwback sound, but if you don’t like it chances are you never have and never will like pop music. Pharrell knows who he is now and he’s here to stay.

American Authors, long a favorite of this website, released their debut album Oh, What A Life Monday and it’s safe to say that this band has amazing potential to it. If my last review of Sun Kil Moon was Winter, than American Authors, and Oh, What A Life, is like the first day of Spring. In fact, this may be one of my favorite albums released in the relatively young new year.

The theme here is positivity. The last band that struck me like that was Walk the Moon and American Authors follow a similar path. Songs are upbeat and catchy as hell. Listen to “Best Day Of My Life” and try and get it out of your head. You can’t, and chances are you won’t want to. “Think About It” was a non-EP track that I immediately fell in love with. “Trouble” was another highlight for me, probably because of the slowed down sing-a-long that’s in the track. It feels like you’re singing along with a great bar band, or sitting in on a backyard concert.

Not to say that American Authors are amateurs, because they’re not. This is radio friendly pop-rock (with a banjo!) that your mom would probably like. Think Imagine Dragons if they weren’t mired in hip-hop production aspects (not a knock on ID). This is going to be the soundtrack to many summers this year and with a Spring headlining tour followed by a support slot on OneRepublic’s amphitheater conquering summer run, American Authors are poised to explode.

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A certified personal trainer and graduate of Northwestern University (M.A. in Sport Adminstration), Steve is resident fitness expert and music snob of JustAGuy. In addition to fitness and music, Steve also enjoys sports. Feel free to trash talk him at steve@justaguy.us.

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