Pharrell Williams is on a serious hot streak.
The singer-songwriter/producer/rapper/hat enthusiast recently nabbed four Grammys, including two for his collaboration with Daft Punk on the inescapable dance pop anthem “Get Lucky” and one for producer of the year. He was also integral to the success of 2013’s other ubiquitous anthem, Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines.” Add to the pot his Academy Award nomination for current single and No. 1 hit, the irresistibly giddy soul pop gem “Happy” from the “Despicable Me 2” soundtrack and Williams is clearly in a sweet spot.
“Happy” is a strong ambassador for the mostly beguiling, sometimes meandering “G I R L,” Pharrell’s new album his first solo effort in eight years.
Although he invited a few high-profile friends into the studio, including Justin Timberlake, Alicia Keys, JoJo, and Miley Cyrus, “G I R L” is all Williams, a mystical, sensual, joyous, occasionally lascivious trip into a mind equally obsessed with the ladies and the groove.
The album starts with the sumptuous “Marilyn Monroe,” a bundle of sneaky strings and urgent rhythms, and builds from there, moving from the falsetto throwdown with Timberlake on “Brand New” to the bubbly bass grooves of the Chic-like “Gush” to the mesmerizing, chant-laden “Lost Queen.” (Out Tuesday)
ESSENTIAL “Marilyn Monroe”