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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Fly Or Die

N.E.R.D

2004

Fly Or Die
Album Summary

Fly or Die is the second studio album by American rap rock band N.E.R.D, released on March 23, 2004. It was ranked #18 in Uncut's "Best Albums of 2004" - "An object lesson in eclectic art-rock....This prog-pop classic reveal further depths of detail with every repeated play.". Mojo Magazine gave it 4 stars out of 5 - "This is an enthusiastic hymn to the terminally uncool, an un-ironic celebration of nerd-culture....They make a party you want to be invited to." It was included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Wikipedia

Rating

2.92

Votes

8833
Genres
Hip Hop
Rock

Reviews

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View Author
Thu Apr 27 2023
4

This one is hard to pigeon-hole, which is a good thing - its a mix of hip hop, jazz, prog, and rock. Truly eclectic and original. We need more modern music that's hard to label and pushes the envelope like this on this list. Plus it was a pleasure to listen to.

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Mon May 01 2023
4

One thing I've enjoyed about this exercise is discovering music that is new to me and interesting to listen to. This fits the category. As in, some guy named Pharrell is on the drums, Lenny Kravitz is featured on a couple of tracks, and one guy on the cover is giving the vulcan salute. Live long and prosper.

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Tue May 09 2023
4

Remember back in the early 2000s when everything sounded like The Neptunes or NERD or Pharrell? I really didn’t like that homogeneous and generic times in pop. A lot of it sounds really sleazy to me. Well turns out these lads were capable of much more and have some very jazzy ideas. I guess if pop stars keep turning up at your studio, offering thousands of dollars for the next sleazy, generic hit, who can blame them for grabbing the cash?

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Wed Jun 28 2023
2

"Don't judge a book by its cover" was my first thought after listening to the first song. The cover, after all, is horrible. Based on it, I was expecting a 1/5 album. I appreciated the first song and that's it - unfortunately, the longer I was listening the worse it got. Don't give me hope and then take it violently!

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Mon May 29 2023
5

Some great song... The front half of the album slays with a slight let down on the back half but still great

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Wed Jun 28 2023
5

Almost jumping into guilty pleasure territory, but you know what? Guilty pleasures shouldn't exist. Enjoy what you enjoy. I enjoyed the hell out of this. It's a mix of a few different genres, and it was GREAT.

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Thu Apr 27 2023
4

I played this a few times while doing different things with two of my adult kids. They knew it and also knew Pharrell’s other projects. I never heard of them. I was also told that NERD stands for “no one ever really dies.“ We were hiking and cutting through a graveyard when I was told this so I had a hard time getting it. When I first saw the album I mistakenly thought it was another hip hop offering. Glad to learn that I like rap rock more. There’s some fun stuff on this. I’ll round up.

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Wed May 10 2023
4

What a great record. I’ve always liked Pharrell, but knew nothing about his part in this outfit. This is not a hip-hop album. It’s high-quality pop. Full of great hooks and totally interesting music. Particularly love the opening track, Don’t Worry About It, Backseat Love, She wants To Move & the epic Wonderful Place (with hidden track Waiting For You) - so personal & unlike anything else on the album. And special mention to Maybe, which features Lenny Kravitz & Questlove - a quality ballad. No duds here. They even get away with the repetitive refrain of the name Mildred in the final track. That’s good going.

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Sun Dec 31 2023
2

There’s really nothing wrong with this - it’s an interesting mashup of genres that often works well - it just wasn’t clicking with me today. I can’t put my finger on it, but there was something about it that reminded me of the Elvis Costello albums I’ve listened to in this project, and it irritated me in the same way. Too upbeat, maybe? Hovering between a 2 and a 3…

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Fri Jan 05 2024
2

I feel like I really like this album in theory. It has a unique sound that crosses a lot of genre lines with even some 2010s level production near the end and Pharrell is in his prime but for some reason I just couldn’t get into it. I honestly thought I was listening to the same song for the first like 20 minutes and I was just mildly bored for the rest of it. The second Lenny kravitz feature was probably my favorite but I doubt I’ll remember this album by tomorrow.

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Mon Jan 15 2024
1

2004 must have been a year reviewers where smoking crack and taking bungs. How this is rated is beyond me, let alone in this list Absolutely terrible.

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Wed Sep 27 2023
5

I never really knew NERD beyond She Wants To Move and this album was a delightful surprise. Fave tracks are probably Breakout, Wonderful Place / Waiting For You. I look forward to spending more time with this.

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Fri Sep 29 2023
5

Unfair, because this is an album I listened to for months whenever I was on the train to school. Happy to report it still holds up after all these years, but that might just be nostalgia and memories talking. Who cares if it does, though?

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Wed Nov 29 2023
5

11/28/23. I have to give Pharrell his due here; this album flows really well and diverse! I love hip hop albums that push the boundaries. Will add to the rotation.

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Fri Dec 08 2023
5

nahhh this is my favorite album of all time! omg! it’s already getting 5 stars!

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Fri Feb 09 2024
5

I had this album when it first came out, although I didn't listen to it loads. I think it is good background music - music to listen to while driving

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Thu May 04 2023
4

Damn, that Pharrell is one talented dude. This is a pretty great yet unheralded album. Totally dig it.

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Thu May 04 2023
4

A curious album, and one that grew on me through the day. Impossible to pigeon hole but rather fun and I'd give this another listen for a change of pace.

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Fri May 05 2023
4

Really good and fun and catchy!

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Sun May 07 2023
4

7/10. This was pretty solid, didn't expect it to be so rocky. That said why the hell are there three hidden tracks? And is it even really a hidden track if it's not at the end of an album, or at least the end of a record-side?

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Fri May 26 2023
4

Now here is an album! Enjoyed listening to this from start to finish. Good mix of hip hop and a sort of new jazz. Tough to explain but I'd rather struggle to identify the genre than recognize it immediately (UK looking at you).

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Thu Jun 08 2023
4

Gairebé a mig camí entre el hip hop i el funk rock, el disc sap com aprofitar-se del millor de cada génere per anar moldejant un treball que passa ràpid i deixa senscions de felicitat pel seu recorregut. Pharell Williams és cos i ànima del treball, i aquí es trobava en un dels seus millors moments artístics. 'Drill Sergeant', 'Fy or Die', 'Waiting for You'... et donen ganes de saltar, ballar, riure... Un feel-good album de manual

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Fri Jun 30 2023
4

Pretty hot. I think it could have been edited down some to its benefit, it's a long album and drags at time. But overall great.

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Fri Jul 07 2023
4

Album that is very different from anything in its genre, somewhat ahead of it’s time by giving an alternative feel.

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Wed Jul 12 2023
4

This album has a lot of the same problems Pharrell’s later stuff has: weird awkward sounding lyrics. Otherwise pretty good though

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Thu Jul 20 2023
4

This was a rather interesting album, from a group I was not very familiar with (apart from Pharrell's Get Lucky with Daft Punk of course). At first listen I thought the songs were catchy but also a bit weird melodically; it didn't quite work for me. The second listen was much more enjoyable, so I went from 2 to 4 stars in the end.

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Thu Jul 27 2023
4

I'd never heard of these chaps, they started a bit shaky, like a sort of Bloodhound Gang copy, but they evolved into a mix between Silksonic and Flight of the Conchords. I genuinely really liked a bunch of these tunes.

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Sun Aug 06 2023
4

She Wants To Move // Breakout // Wonderful Place // Drill Sergeant // Maybe // The Way She Dances // Find My Way 3.5/5

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Fri Aug 18 2023
4

Very good production and arrangements. Pretty into it

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Tue Aug 22 2023
4

00’er hiphop/pop, lidt rocket, energisk, pharell

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Tue Aug 22 2023
4

Really close to hitting something so strong, but it feels like almost every song was nearly groundbreaking. Not strong enough to get the 5 for me, but definitely a great album.

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Mon Aug 28 2023
4

Les N.E.R.D me semblaient être un nouveau boys band rnb des plus homosexuels, il n'en fut rien, la troupe de Pharell s'est mis en tête de nous baiser la gueule pendant une bonne heure.

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Mon Aug 28 2023
4

J'avais très bien reconnu Pharrell caché derrière ses doigts contrairement à eltrapeze qui n'a qu'un sur dix aux deux yeux. Bigleux.

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Mon Sep 04 2023
4

Didn’t know anything about this. I was intrigued and ended up really enjoying it. I like the rockier sound underlying the rappy top layer.

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Thu Sep 14 2023
4

This album takes me back to college, when I first listened to and really enjoyed this album.

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Wed Sep 20 2023
4

I didn’t know Pharrell had a super group, one that integrated rock with rap, but it’s pretty bangin’. Could have skipped the Good Charlotte appearance, but I like how it transitions from funky and soulful to somewhat aggressive, like a P-Funk or Santana track with rap verses. Would listen again. B-

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Fri Sep 29 2023
4

I enjoyed it as something outside my norm but probably wouldn't add to my rotation

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Fri Sep 29 2023
4

One of those bands that I've been meaning to listen to but haven't really until now. Found it really catchy and fun. The arrangements were simple but with enough surprises to keep it interesting.

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Thu Oct 05 2023
4

Thumping, bumping, nerdy prog rock hip hop, NERD pursue their worst temptations and excesses towards bombastic OTT drums, guitars and bass. It is a lot of fun.

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Wed Oct 11 2023
4

Lekker hoor. Hoera voor pharell!

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Wed Oct 11 2023
4

Ga de albumgenerator een roer draaien door niet deze, maar 'In Search of...' te reviewen: TOP plaat, VEEL beter dan hun latere werk zoals 'Fly or Die', waar ik maar 2 sterren voor zou geven.

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Fri Oct 13 2023
4

A great organic alternative rnb pop album with live instrumentation.

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Sun Oct 29 2023
4

I had no expectations for this album and I was pleasantly surprised. Unique sound, very fun, and super catchy. Not something that I would listen to every day, but for sure I will be coming back to this. 8/10

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Tue Oct 31 2023
4

dude what is this? The rap is pretty bad but the music itself is wild. It's almost like listening to lyrics from a sound cloud rapper mashed up with a totally disassociated band. Compels me though.

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Wed Nov 15 2023
4

I had never heard of this before, but I enjoyed it. From what I learned, they learned to play the instruments do they could perform live. It was a fun listen so the way through with a good rock/rap vibe and some funk should in there.

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Thu Nov 16 2023
4

Really fun to listen to. Nice blend of genres

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Sun Nov 19 2023
4

I liked the rock hip-hop hybrid at the time, but hadn't listened to n*e*r*d since about 2010. Still appeals. I think the rudimentary funk rock guitar without too many clever noodling combined with good drumming is what attracts me. I'll give it a low 4 as it's not very special, but I do quite like it.

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Wed Nov 22 2023
4

Good solid pop hip-hop album with a little dada-ist streak, and only a slight smidgen of misogyny, which is refreshing. Had a good time listening to this record, funky, clever, and fun.

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Thu Nov 30 2023
4

A staggering mishmash of genres and influences, which works better than it should. Like most albums by producers / production teams, it exists largely to show what they can do, but in a "cocky" way rather than a "pointlessly complex" way. Pharell is a hell of a frontman, and the guests elevate their songs well. An album where there is a place for every song on someone's playlist, but it's maybe less likely to be anyone's "all time favourite".

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Fri Dec 01 2023
4

I'll be honest. I was really skeptical going into this album. Never heard of N.E.R.D. before or any song on this track. I was pleasantly surprised. This is not another rap or hip hop album. This is a rock rap album with serious, undeniable musicality imbedded. While some of the sounds are a little raw, the writing is really impressive. Of course, I had no idea that Pharrell was the lead singer and and they had great collaborators including Questlove and Lenny Kravitz too...

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Fri Dec 08 2023
4

I had never even heard of this before today and enjoyed its eclectic approach. I didn't love the vocal performances so much (I didn't know until sitting down to write this that that was Pharrell), but I liked the Zappa-esque and George-Clintonesque goofiness. And the songs were well written, too. So yeah, a perfect album for a list like this. Glad I heard it.

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Fri Dec 08 2023
4

I used to love the song she wants to move back when it was first released. I don’t know if I heard any of the other songs of the album before this week. Listening to the whole album at once is a lot, because it just started sounding repetitive. Playing the tracks one or two at a time was much more enjoyable - to me at least. I could go anywhere from a three to a four on this.

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Fri Dec 08 2023
4

Every time I listen to NERD I wonder why I’ve never tried to listen to them more. They were definitely genre-defying and innovative and I enjoyed the whole experience. They definitely deserve to be on this list and I would happily listen again - there was enough variety and intelligence to keep me interested.

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Thu Dec 14 2023
4

jazzy start I listened to this music all day, rnb plus rap was a good combo.

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Thu Dec 14 2023
4

So, first time listening to N.E.R.D. Can this really be called Hip-Hop? Pharrell’s not really rapping, but then we’re in a place in 2023 where most of the really popular Hip-Hop artists don’t really rap either. He’s a pioneer! This one was fun. The lyrics were by far the worst part, but the music was good enough that I could just tune them out. I was a little worried that the album was gonna be all the same rhythm-centric chugging guitar riff, because that’s what the first five songs are, but then Breakout came on with it’s accordion, which I really loved, and the whole vibe changed to a soul thing that I also really enjoyed. So yeah, I’m game with this. Might even check out some more

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Sat Dec 16 2023
4

Fuck yes. This whole album feels like drinking the "Fun Potion" off of a crazy wizard's shelf of assorted brews and concoctions.

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Thu Jan 04 2024
4

Notable track: She Wants To Move

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Fri Jan 05 2024
4

Cool album. Good energy and a clear theme throughout the album. I think Pharrell’s solo stuff is better though.

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Mon Jan 15 2024
4

I like this collaboration, poppy, edgy, musically happy.

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Wed Jan 17 2024
4

After giving Fly Or Die a good listen. I can say its a really solid rap rock album. I liked how it could get really wacky at points (Jump and She Wants To Move being prime examples of this) The instruments were all utilized very well as were the vocals. Some of the compositions might not have been perfect but all in all, Its still a really solid album Best Song: Thrasher Worst Song: Chariot Of Fire

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Thu Jan 18 2024
4

First NERD album I’ve really listened to. Not bad

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Thu Jan 25 2024
4

I like this. Pharrell always seems to deliver.

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Wed Jan 31 2024
4

I don't think people recognize how talented Pharrell is. Would definitely repeat this album. Favorite songs: She Wants To Move, Breakout, Wonderful Place, Drill Sergeant, Thrasher, Maybe (honestly, I feel like I'm listing all the songs. This album is a banger.)

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Fri Feb 09 2024
4

Easily forgettable, guitar chords from Pharell Williams wasn't really impactful and time signatures were inconsistent Vocals overall was decent at best

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Fri Feb 16 2024
4

Witty, experimental funk/soul rock that spans multiple genres and is defined by none of them. Vocals are diverse and captivating, from soulful gentle hooks to almost-rap to alternative indie rock, and lyrics are clever, catchy, and meaningful. Instrumentation is all over the place in a fun, creative way; N.E.R.D feels less like a serious attempt at art experimentation and more jovial exploration and flexing of musicians who have nothing to prove. Not what I was expecting, but happy to be proven wrong. Stand out tracks include “Jump”, “Wonderful Place”, and “The Way She Dances”.

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Mon Feb 19 2024
4

Imagine if the Isley Brothers, Fleetwood Mac, 10cc, Modest Mouse, Belle and Sebastian, and Curtis Mayfield had a musical orgy… Fly or Die is probably as close as you are going to get to that

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Thu Feb 22 2024
4

You know, out of all the albums on this list I've gotten so far, I think this album has had the biggest disparity between how much I thought I would like it, and how much I actually liked it. Based on things like the name, album cover, and apparent lack of a strong enough reason for this album's inclusion on the list, I didn't think I would like N.E.R.D's "Fly or Die" that much. However, I actually really like this album. First off, I just want to say that I had no idea that Pharrell Williams was in a band. I just think that's kind of cool. Second of all, this album is pretty unique. I really like the blend of various genres. The wikipedia article said this was rap rock, which was another reason I thought I wouldn't like it. However, there's a lot more soul influence than I thought there would be. There really isn't that much in here I'd truly call "rap rock", or maybe this album just shows what it can actually be. This whole album has this feel-good energy to it. The writing is a bit basic at times, but not in a painful way or anything. The singing is nice, the album doesn't go on for too long. I do have one complaint though. The ending was a bit underwhelming. Not the last song specifically, that one was good. All of them are good. I just liked the first few songs overall more than the last few overall. This is a real sleeper hit you guys. I can't believe no one told me how good this was! 4/5.

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Sat Feb 24 2024
4

This was a fun jaunt into 2004

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Mon Feb 26 2024
4

Interesting mix of styles, keeps you engaged as it takes you in different directions. 3.6

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Mon Mar 04 2024
4

No bad tracks. Great sound overall. She Wants to Move the only standout track on a solid album. 3.5

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Wed Apr 26 2023
3

All new to me -- the group and its music -- and this is a fun one. Nice blend of hip-hop, rap, R&B, pop, and rock in here. I enjoyed it.

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Thu Apr 27 2023
3

I didn't have much of a chance to listen to this because I'm busy watching the World Snooker Championships :) I'll say that I was happy it wasn't rap, the overall sound and especially the singing is fairly unpolished, especially when comparing this to R&B LPs over the last two decades; "She Wants to Move" and "Maybe" are good songs.

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Thu Apr 27 2023
3

Some good tracks. Not a fan of Pharrell's voice particularly

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Fri Apr 28 2023
3

More familiar with the Neptunes and Pharrell's solo work, of it's era.

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Fri May 05 2023
3

This one surprised me a lot! Looking at the cover art, it immediately gives me the impression that I was about to listen to some copy of a copy of the worst of Beast Boys or something like that. In the end, I was kind of right about it (😅), but at least they do a good copy, and they are almost bright with some novelty in their best songs. Never heard about them before, look like a cover band, sounds like a good cover band and it was a nice listening session. 3

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Sun May 07 2023
3

Maybe was my favorite track. Otherwise, the main thing I got out of this album is that Pharrell Williams is 50. 6/10

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Sun May 07 2023
3

Production is very good, had no idea Pharrell made stuff like this

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Wed May 10 2023
3

"Fly or die" . Ok let's get urban and possibly deeply ironic, yeah :-) . It ticks a genre box I suppose. I'm curious as to why it's on the list... I drop my bias for a moment... I looked for their most popular track.. "she wants to move".. and reluctantly, I can say , on the 2nd listen, does have a certain catchy and original style, on the 2nd listen. Sometimes you have to give new music some time... As the album cover advertises so well what it is, it's easy to see this as juvenile american boy music with attitude. Mostly not for me, and at first it really defies me to see what it defines, achieves or says. ... I actively disliked much if it. As the review mentions they worked hard to make something that others see... Party Rap rock. I started to hear influences of Nirvana harmonies and heavy 90s rock updated ....with modern bit band overtones - moments of Timberlake without the vocal gifts. So that's how I got to 3 stars instead of 1. Bruv slates, andLive long and prosper, fellas. (But I am not sure you broke the metaphorical shell of our understanding of brash American culture).

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Mon May 15 2023
3

C'est un bon melange de style bien prduit. Mais c'est pas exceptionnelle. Ils ont eu de l'influence c'est certain . 3.75

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Fri May 19 2023
3

N.E.R.D moves without moving, a feat I'll reduce to Pharrell as it's his sound that provides the constant. The end of the record feels distinct from the start, the energy played out somewhat; Each song in the middle is less a point in the established space but a question mark. Genreless in a pop-fun mode, the record can inspire in terms of dance, perhaps craft.

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Sun May 21 2023
3

This was a really fun listen. Playful songs with a chill vibe, nimbly drawing on a variety of musical influences. Remember when this kind of creativity wasn't so rare in music? Fave Songs: Maybe, Breakout, Don't Worry About It, Jump, Thrasher

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Tue May 23 2023
3

Big singles, great production, curiously empty.

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Thu May 25 2023
3

This was fun. Sounds like something my dad would play in the car for us as kids.

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Fri May 26 2023
3

Haven't listened to much NERD, but very familiar with the Neptunes, Pharrell and Chad Hugo. I've heard a lot of good things about them, and it's obvious they're creative and talented. I have a feeling this isn't their best album, but it's still pretty good. I'm glad that this is on the list, but scratching my head thinking of other Neptunes-produced stuff that's certainly not on here. Hell Hath No Fury by Clipse? Favorite tracks: Fly or Die, Breakout. Album art: Extremely 2004. The three of them standing hatched from a USA flag egg. I'm not reading much into the symbolism, but the banner style, shadows, everything is very of its era. Reminds me of the Black Eyed Peas. 3.5/5

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Sun Jun 11 2023
3

Mixed feelings about this one. Its kinda genreless which is good.. its a rap-funk-rock crossover but not in a RHCP shite way.. The debut is stronger. But I'm not won over by the songs but I kinda admire it . Second half is weaker.

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Sat Jun 17 2023
3

A rock/hip hop crossover, but a lot more emphasis on the rock than I had expected. Reminiscent of a more chilled out Death in Vegas in places. Power to the nerds. Rating: 3/5 Playlist track: The Way She Dances Date listened: 16/06/23

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Sun Jun 18 2023
3

Personally, the mix of rap and funky rock just didn't prove anything, it feels like it would have worked with classic hip hop beats just as well. Only the last song was really anything that stood out from the rest

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