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N.E.R.D.

Seeing Sounds (Interscope)

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"Her ass is a spaceship I want to ride," sang Pharrell a few years back. And you gotta wonder if maybe the Neptunes member really does live underwater, where air doesn't exactly get to the brain. But Clipse's Hell Hath No Fury (which Pharrell produced) is a pretty good record — once its shards of broken-note logic are pieced together. And after a few spins, Seeing Sounds — the third album from Pharrell's side project N.E.R.D. — isn't as half-assed as it initially seems.

Still, there are plenty of duds here — like the first single, "Everybody Nose (All the Girls Standing in the Line for the Bathroom)," an ode to coke propelled by beats straight outta 1996. While other A-list producers — like, say, Timbaland — slice up the past and slip it into their own endearing notion of future funk, Pharrell remains firmly stuck in his own strange current — a vortex of skateboards, skanky girls, and annoying '70s rock.

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