Pharrell feat Gwen Stefani - Can I Have It Like That (Virgin)
UK release date: 31 October 2005
They are two of America's hottest names in music and continually singing
on other people's tracks, so it makes perfect sense for Pharrell Williams to
team up with Gwen Stefani on his first solo outing Can I Have It Like
Not that Stefani's contribution really adds much to the record. Her
anodyne vocal is purely cosmetic and clearly a transparent means of getting
her name on the single to not only boost her own credentials but to help draw
Pharrell to the attention of her increasingly mainstream following. And if
anyone deserves a larger audience it's Pharrell Williams, who has already
confirmed his talents as one half of the production team, the Neptunes, and
as a performer and songwriter in his own right with N*E*R*D.
Can I Have It Like That is a slow burner. It doesn't have the
immediate impact of N*E*R*D's debut Lapdance, but is an atmospheric, gritty
hip-hop track, similar in style and rhythm to Drop It Like It's Hot, the
tune Pharrell dueted with Snoop Dogg on. It is darker and edgier than
that track, complete with the trademark sound of the Neptunes production.
Williams vocal sounds as pleasant as ever - he offers a honey-coated version
of the rapping styles of his peers such as Snoop and Dre. It
is a promising hint at what else is to come from Pharrell's debut album In
My Mind and further affirmation that the Neptunes and their offspring
projects can still make the most interesting hip hop around.