Top 5 from the Week #20 (ft. N.E.R.D.)

Normally on Fridays I do vinyl library, however it’s been super rainy the past couple of days, so the light in my room is too trash for me to try to take any pictures. So I decided to switch around today and tomorrow, so we have a Top 5 from the Week today, instead.

I’ve spent a lot of time this week daydreaming lol. It’s weird because I feel like I daydreamed a lot before college, and then college happened, and it stopped – and that break from daydreaming continued up until Quarantine 2020, and now it’s been one of my favorite pastimes and coping mechanisms. There’s just something about dissociating from my reality that just brings peace and comfort to my soul 🙂 N.E.R.D.’s music has been the backdrops to my daydreams lately, so in a twisted reality-bending turn, I decided to focus the Top 5 for this Week on my favorite songs from each of their projects.

“Run to Sun” from In Search Of… (2002)

“Run to the Sun” has been a song that I have liked for a really long time. I think it was one of the first songs from N.E.R.D. that I listened to, and I’ve loved it ever since. The mix of dreaminess and funk and Pharrell’s voice just do remarkable things to my overall well-being. It’s just a really beautiful song. The idea of finding someone that you love so much that you’re willing to run into a hot ball of fire with them is one of the most romantic things I’ve ever heard. It’s such a shame that there’s no music video for this song. In Search Of… as a whole is just really an amazing project. It wasn’t my first introduction to N.E.R.D., but I’ve revisited it a lot since finally hearing it all the way through.

“Breakout” from Fly or Die (2004)

I’ve already talked about my love for Fly or Die in a My Favorite’s of All Time a couple of months back. And it has only grown since then lol. I had a mini breakdown last night, and I found myself reaching for that project almost instantly. I put on my headphones, laid on the floor in my room, and cried to “Breakout” and “Jump.” And to be honest, it helped lol. I guess it’s because in that moment I was feeling very much isolated, and having Pharrell, Chad, and Shay tell me that they feel/have felt the way that I felt in that moment made me feel less alone. And I think I’ve mentioned before that that’s one of the beautiful things about music to me, and why I’ve held onto music for so long. That feeling of tangibility of another person through sound. I don’t know why I slept on “Breakout” for so long – it’s only been a couple of months since I started to really listen to it – but I have definitely made up for it. It’s the perfect “let me drown all my sadness in the loudest music possible” song. But it’s also kind of gentle towards the end, where it kind of feels like it gives you a nice little bear hug, kisses you on the cheek, and promises you that it’s going to be okay.

“Sooner or Later” from Seeing Sounds (2008)

I think Seeing Sounds was the first full N.E.R.D. project that I listened to outside of the compilation project that they released in 2011. I’m not actually sure why I ended up listening to Seeing Sounds first; I believe it’s because “Spaz” is on there and that was the song I was seeing the most about around that time. It could have also been the big red gorilla on the front of the project. I’ve already talked about my love for “Sooner or Later” in a MFOAT, so I won’t go super deep into that again, but I will give the song more flowers and affirm that it’s still my favorite song from Seeing Sounds.

“I’ve Seen the Light/Inside of Clouds” from Nothing (2010)

It took me a little bit to think of what my favorite song was from Nothing because I don’t really visit that project as much as the others, so the tracklist isn’t as fresh in my head. While thinking about it in the shower earlier I was stuck between “Perfect Defect,” “God Bless Us All,” “Life as a Fish,” and “Hot-N-Fun.” Then “I’ve Seen the Light/ Inside of Clouds” came into my mind, and I remembered how much I love that song. I think it’s one of those songs that’s distinctly a N.E.R.D. song. Like, it’s one of those songs that I don’t think any other group could make because you need the exact calibration of Pharrell, Chad, and Shay to make it. It would be one of the songs I’d tell someone to listen to if they want it to get into N.E.R.D.’s music.

“Don’t Don’t Do It!” from No One Ever Really Dies (2017)

I think No One Every Really Dies is the most contentious N.E.R.D. project for me. It’s the one that I feel like I like the least songs on, but it’s also the shortest, so it feels like I don’t like the project as much as I actually do. I remember talking to a friend at the time about whether or not we thought that N.E.R.D. was going to drop another project, before they came out with No One Ever Really Dies. I don’t remember why we were having a conversation about that, but soon after, my friend started sending me screenshots of Pharrell and Rihanna talking about a new song that they had together, and we were positive that a new album was coming out. We was right!! At first, I wanted to recognize “1000” as my favorite song on this project because it’s the song that I’ve had the biggest redemption arc with. (I absolutely hated “1000” the first time I heard it lol. There was just something about it – one of those things being Future – that I just didn’t like. I decided to give it another go with my friend’s insistence that it was an amazing song, and it did grow on me.) But after a couple of minutes of pondering, I decided that “Don’t Don’t Do it!” is my favorite song from the project. And I’m basing that heavily on the fact that there’s demo version of this song that Frank Ocean is on. All the songs I like on the project, I like the same – there’s no song I like significantly more than the others – so the fact that Frank helped Pharrell and them make “Don’t Don’t Do It!” and the fact that Frank, Kendrick, and Pharrell had the potentially to officially release a song together (but BLEW it), makes me feel obligated to recognize the song as my favorite from the project.

The last thing I want to mention before I go is that Shay Haley is so underrated. I went back last night and this morning and watched some old N.E.R.D. videos that I hadn’t seen, and I realized that a lot of song moments that I thought were sung by Pharrell, were actually sung by Shay lol. Like Pharrell was definitely doing a majority of the vocals, but Shay was there holding down the track as well, either backing him, doing adlibs, or signing/rapping a verse or two. And having that information just made me think about how much I undervalue Shay Haley. He just might be the unsung hero of the group. Pharrell obviously gets a lot of love as the frontman, and I think because of the Neptunes people know that Chad is amazing, but because Shay is so lowkey, I feel like doesn’t get recognized as much as he should. And maybe he’s fine with that. But he deserves his flowers too! So we just really have to affirm Shay; I hope he’s having a good day so far.


here’s something else you might like:

Top 5 from the Week #19 (ft. Kelly Finnigan, Calvin Harris & The Weeknd, TWOFACE, Lucky Daye, Mos Def)

Happy Saturday, folks. This has been an um…interesting week lol. I’ve started coming to a lot of realizations in my life (for better or worse), which has taken up a lot of mental space than I would prefer. But that’s where I am in my life, I guess. I’m currently in the midst of my … Continue reading Top 5 from the Week #19 (ft. Kelly Finnigan, Calvin Harris & The Weeknd, TWOFACE, Lucky Daye, Mos Def)

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