Pharrell Williams is having a fantastic year. Right now “Blurred Lines,” which he produced for Robin Thicke (who’s starting to look and sound increasingly like a more Vegas-y James Murphy), is sitting at the top of the Hot 100. Two spots below it is Daft Punk’s song of the year contender “Get Lucky,” which he sings lead on. He also produced a new song for this year’s Destiny’s Child greatest hits collection, Love Songs, and two tracks on Kelly Rowland’s Talk a Good Game, which should go down as one of the year’s best R&B albums. Plus he’s on the new Lonely Island album, and according to Wikipedia he worked on both a new N.O.R.E. record and the soundtrack to Despicable Me 2.
Over the past couple of years Williams has bounced back considerably from a period of relative irrelevancy following the tepid reception to his solo album In My Mind, and quite possibly the widespread realization that people don’t really care at all about N*E*R*D records outside of their singles. It’s an impressive comeback made all the more so by the fact that he hasn’t substantially changed anything about his approach to music since the Neptunes became superstar producers around the turn of the millennium. He’s still making beats out of cowbells, flattened drums, and vintage keyboard sounds, still singing almost exclusively in his trademark falsetto, and still sounding overall like a really abstract Marvin Gaye impression.