Hip hop stands as one of the most important influences on current pop music. In the few short years since it became a legitimate musical form in the eyes of white audiences (thanks Lauryn Hill!), hip hop has dominated the musical landscape, and changed pop music drastically. Now metal-heads rap over their blustering guitars, boy bands harmonize over break beats, and high-schoolers are trading in their Fenders for Technics. But perhaps the most profound effect hip hop has had is shining a light on producers. Producers used to be the overlooked bunch of gearheads toiling away at guitar levels and fade-outs and other such periphery, while the songwriter did the actual creative work and the band did the technical stuff. But hip hop relies on deft looping and sampling combined with complementary rapping to work – you don’t even need to write a song.
The public was infatuated with the MCs at first – the equivalent to a rock band’s photogenic lead singer – but inevitably people want to know what’s going into the actual music. It helps that hip hop has continually expanded from a sample-based format, which kept people looking at the sampled sources. Furthermore, the current dearth of skilled MCs (R.I.P. Tupac and Biggie) firmly shifted focus on to the beats. The 21st century granted America its first producer-pop-stars: Timbaland and the Neptunes. Their distinctive beats made instant hits, regardless of what name was attached to them (Missy Elliot, Aaliyah, and Bubba Sparxxx with the former; Mystikal, Noreaga, and finally, Britney Spears and N’Sync with the latter).
Timbaland plants himself firmly in the realm of hip hop, and his solo albums and collaborations support this. But the Neptunes have bigger goals. Chad Hugh and Pharrell Williams have worked their way up from Puff Daddy lackeys all the way to the driving force behind the most recognizable faces in pop. Thus it comes as no surprise that the unavoidable Neptunes solo album runs a gamut of musical styles. The big surprise is how undeniably good the album is. Great, in fact. In Search Of..., released under the moniker N.E.R.D. (No one Ever Really Dies), isn’t even a hip hop album at all. It’s a tightly programmed concept album, conceived on a steady diet of Thriller, heartbreak, and cocaine.
In Search Of... isn’t just an album about cocaine: it’s practically cocaine itself. It’s gaudy, exciting, shallow, and incredibly addictive. Gaudy for flaunting its bevy of musical styles (even though it pulls everything off flawlessly). Exciting because it effortlessly repackages ‘80s disco-funk-cheese into something not only palatable, but desirable. Shallow because the music is totally corrupt and dishonest: the cheap keyboard effects perfectly match Pharrell’s empty pleas and apologies. And finally, addictive because that’s what the Neptunes do best: they hook you and keep you coming back for more. In fact, the album is actually rather unsatisfying in retrospect – joy can only be derived from actually listening to it. It reigns only in the present – the perfect pop music for our disposable age.
The true masters of pop that they are, Pharrell and Chad put the single on the first track, “Lapdance,” a violent ode to low-budget decadence. The buzz-saw synths that open the song are unmistakably Neptunes, but the big surprise comes from the percussion: it’s live. The Neptunes re-recorded In Search Of..., replacing synth drums and guitars with the real thing. It’s a departure from
In Search Of... Nothing - It's perfect!
N*E*R*D are an awesome band. The band consists of the Neptunes (Pharrell Williams & Chad hug) and their friend, Shae.
In Searc Of... is an album that brings R&B, rock and hip hop together. The last successfull attempy, in my opinion, was the collaboration between Run DMC and Aerosmith!
The album is full of a great mix of some great beats and thought provoking lyrics. The outstanding songs are: Lapdance, Provider, Rock Star and Run to the Sun.
There are some subjects that most artists would consider a taboo, such as in Tape You (which is about recording your girlfriend having lesbian sex) and some songs which contain ballad type themese, but written from more unusual perspectives like in Provider (about a trucker wanting to be there for his wife/family).
One of the best albums I own, and even after 3 years it sounds great. There aren't many that can make a successfull crossover between genres, let alone fuse them, but the Neptunes' cross-genre work pay's off really well.
The Neptunes earn a lot of respect from their fans and peers because of the work they do, and N*E*R*D is just an extension of that.
2 of 4 people found this review helpful.
The good old days
This album was the perfecting of the digital version of In serach of relseased the previous year (2001)
In that year the Neptunes were in their prime - producing Kelis "wanderland" the tracks for "Justified" - shows how hot the Neptunes really were.
This album shows just how amazing Pharrell williams and Chad Hugo can be.
The album features a wide range of sounds (rock, funk, jazz,RnB, rap etc) and topics (politics, war, oral sex, taping your girlfriend having lesbian sex)
Standout tracks are "Truth or Dare" which is a beautiful combination of Pharrell and kelis vocals, "Lapdance", "Stay together" which demonstrates how jaw dropping pharrell`s falsetto is "Am i high" etc.
I had to just write etc cos the whole damn album is fantastic!!!!
The absolute best track however is "tape you" which is one of the Neptunes best joints ever!
As i said at the beginning of my review, this album was created during the neptunes peak. There is nothing to fault in this album, so buy it and embrace the neptunes beautiful creation.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
in search of by n.e.r.d
for a start off i love pharrell williams and just had 2 get this cd, i already had fly or die and heard so many good reviews on in search of, the cd is in excellent condition and will be played over and over and over, thanx to ebay for my obsession of pharrell....x
Their First Album
N.E.R.D's debut album gives an insight into their influences and experiences ... A great album, A must have if you are into anything original.