Review: N.E.R.D. stumbles on comeback effort


Zoe Vongtau, News Editor

On its first album release in seven years, iconic alternative hip-hop group N.E.R.D delivers recognizable vocal performances and surprising yet unsuccessful experimentation with features and lyrics.

Self-titled as No One Ever Really Dies, the relatively short album opens with the bubbly single “Lemon,” in which Rihanna features and raps on, highlighting the song as a gem to be played over and over.

Certain platforms like Spotify released a special edit of the single that skips directly to Rihanna’s verse, a lyrically strong verse that flows well.

The group is known for its repetitive yet enjoyable choruses, bridges and whole songs on previously successful albums like Seeing Sounds; way too many tracks on No One Ever Really Dies, unfortunately, are marked by this dying tradition.

On the single “1,000,” featuring Future, lead vocalist Pharrell Williams endlessly chants “Chanting and circling the fires / Heard behavior, can’t keep it quiet / Kinetic energy a thousand times higher,” inspiring the desire to skip the verse and song completely.

A collaboration with Ed Sheeran on track titled “Lifting You” simultaneously serves to be the most random track, biggest failure, and just an unfortunate end to the album.

Despite mistakes with the album’s flow, “Don’t Don’t Do it!” “Voila” and “Deep Down Body Thurst” stand out as prizes for fans to skip to in the midst of other weak features and tiring background instrumentals.

Comparing this album to N.E.R.D’s previous projects may leave fans disappointed and longing for simpler songs with influences of R&B and rock, a contrast to the new album’s heavy emphasis on rap.

The group’s position in pop culture and the hearts of fans is still a testament to their ability to produce quality music for almost two decades and many hope future projects showcase their talent in ways No One Ever Really Dies failed to.