Wednesday, June 11, 2008

N*E*R*D: Lazer Gun (Bonus Track)

It's no secret that The Neptunes/N*E*R*D have a very intimate relationship with Japan.

It is the home to the very first BBC/Ice Cream boutique, Pharrell's Japanese kindred spirit Nigo and his rap group Teriyaki Boyz (who recently released to Neptunes-produced Zock On featuring Busta Rhymes), A Bathing Ape (a clothing store owned by Nigo and the model after which Pharrell built BBC/Ice Cream), and now, as of last week, it is also home to another rare gem -- Lazer Gun, a bonus track from N*E*R*D's new album Seeing Sounds.

The song is a welcome addition to the album, which I thought was very good but not necessarily the group's best effort. In my humble yet still biased opinion, Seeing Sounds doesn't flow that well, not transitioning well from song to song, which at times can mean going from genre to genre, and some times going from a melancholy rock song to an uptempo damn-near-pop song just doesn't work that well.

That said, I am enjoying the album because at the very least it is still good music, regardless of the sequencing of the songs. But still, I would be a naive Neptunes fan if I didn't say that from less than a week of constant listening to Seeing Sounds, it doesn't seem to be quite as good as its two predecessors. All three have incredible, ground breaking music, but the first one is an undeniable classic, and from a personal standpoint, the release of Fly or Die coincided with my first trip to Las Vegas, where I celebrated 24-7 for my homey's bachelor party. "The Way She Dances" is my official Vegas anthem and one of N*E*R*D's best songs ever. Word to the Ghostbar.

But I digress... This track is special in that unless I'm mistaken this is the second time Shay rhymes for an entire verse (first time was from In Search Of...'s "Things Are Getting Better". And not only does he rhyme but Pharrell does his emcee thing too. I seem to be one of the few fans of Pharrell's rhyming skills. I believe that he really does write his own rhymes. Not Pusha, who is brilliant in his own right.

The beat is a slow, classic Neptunes beat with the usual suspects on the scene: congas, fresh little guitar lick, subtle bass, all stripped down bare to emphasize the vocals more than anything, until heavier guitars come rushing in on the hook.

When Pharrell lyrically is at his simplest he is also at his best:

"Man, my beat’s like a b*tch — make you drool in ya car
It shines bright like the night with the moon and stars
Then I wake up and make more by noon tomorrow"

Then Shay laments about any would-be competition:

"They aint the future
What you think – they get tomorrow?
That’s like Larry Bird coming to school Jabbar
You should be happy
That should be news to yall
Like a little boy hearing ‘no school tomorrow'"

Again, simple, but effective, with a nice flow. My hat's off to Shay for getting more vocals on this album and this bonus track.

Check it out, and if you're an obsessive N*E*R*D fan you'll buy the Japanese version for this song only.

N*E*R*D: Lazer Gun (Seeing Sounds Bonus Track)

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