In Search Of...
Record label: Virgin
UK release date: 30 October 2001
US release date: 12 March 2002
The Neptunes (Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo) are some STRANGE brothers. Actually, they just know how to straddle the fence. They're down with the in-crowd, producing cuts for Jay-Z, Mystikal, ODB, Philly's Most Wanted, Busta Rhymes, and a bunch more. At the same time, they've done remixes for artists as varied as Sade, Daft Punk, and Limp Biskit. And their new album seems to suggest that they're not scared to let their freak flag fly, either. They're just more subtle about it than heads like George Clinton, Macy Gray, or Outkast. Recording as N.E.R.D. (No one Ever Really Dies), it's clear that they plan to freak the R&B/pop formula a little bit.
At first, I dismissed the lead single ("Lap Dance") for some hoochie nonsense...until I found out that it's really about tricky dick political figures. Kelis makes an appearance on "Truth Or Dare," sounding like some urban flip-the-script action Eyes Wide Shut style (or maybe I'm reading too much into it). It's ill, though - even while singing songs about voyeurism ("Tape You"), they don't sound like peep show addicts. Must be their beats: they always steer the song's direction. There's a definite bump to them (with a possible grind in the near future). Although, it's also cool when they stray from that. I'm kinda feelin' "Bobby James," this psychedelic pop joint about a picked-on student that uses drugs to escape his reality. This album should've been out in the States by now, but Virgin shelved it for whatever reason until next year. With the right push, In Search Of... could be the Stankonia of 2002. In the meantime, let's hope that The Neptunes don't come down with a bad case of Timbaland Syndrome and spread themselves too thin.
NOTE: The domestic version of this album contains some slight changes in the song order and has been re-recorded with a live band. The import version retains the album's original arrangement - mainly all electronic and synthesized.