A few months back, I decided to buy N.E.R.D’s latest album: No one – Ever – Really – Dies. For those who don’t know, the band consists of genius minds: Pharrell Williams, Chad Hugo and Shay. Without a doubt my favorite group in the universe, I have been a fan ever since their first album (In search of), way back in 2001. Towards the end of 2017, they released their 5th album, much to my delight. However, after the underwhelming 4th album “Nothing”, I was a tad cautious whether their newest album would really be a return to form. Thankfully (at least for the most part) my worries were wiped away. Here are the tracks that I feel truly make the album great!
“Lemon” gifts the listener with power and confidence. Rihanna, a strong woman in her own right, raps to the catchy melody with ease. Mette Towley, part of Pharrell’s dance squad owns the music video – performing an array of moves that have resonated in the dance community, all over the globe. The beat itself, in true N.E.R.D fashion is catchy and shamelessly addictive.
Deep Down Body Thurst” Is a rebellious and bold warning to misguided corporations, leaders and elites – “you won’t get away”! Much of N.E.R.D’s original audience (myself included) are people who have rejected the manipulation of world leaders who have attempted to pit ourselves against one another. It’s great to see the trio have stayed true to one of their main messages of being for the people.
“Voila” for me is an empowering and magical song for the creative person. Lyrics such as “You are the magician. You can make it happen…” inspires the ambitious person – reminding them that they can do anything they put their mind to. Each time I play this track, I feel as though I am energized – ready to create something new!
“Don’t Don’t Do It!” By far my favorite track on the entire album – this song is about the constant police brutality and no matter what many of us do, we still end up being unjustly killed. “They tell you: pull over, tell you: get out the car, something says: don’t do it.” I almost cried when listening to this piece – as I recollected the many victims of police brutality, over the last few years. Kendrick Lamar was the cherry on top of this amazing track! Lastly, the beat and melody itself is reminiscent of N.E.R.D’s original style and vibe, which many fans will immediately realize.
“ESP” – although it isn’t the most melodic track, possesses inspiring lyrics by Pharrell. “You have an extra eye, but you ain’t trying to use it” is just one of the things mentioned in this track. I get the feeling that the band really wanted to drill into our minds, how powerful we are as human beings.
As for the rest of the album (especially the second half), I didn’t quite get the same message. Tracks such as Secret Life of Tigers and Lifting You, didn’t sit well with me. Secret Life of Tigers sounded too mindless and jarring. Lifting You, came across as a poor man’s reggae song, which I would have preferred the trio strayed away from. It also had no relevant message for me – however I am sure that it resonates with many other people.
To sum it up, this is an album of empowerment and realization – expressed in a way that only N.E.R.D know to how do.
Well done N.E.R.D!