Second miss in a row from Neptunes half Pharrell Williams.
The first strike came on N.E.R.D.’s second album, Fly Or Die, a hugely disappointing followup to the stellar In Search Of. He and partner-in-crime Chad Hugo are never as exhilarating as they are when producing hits for everyone from Gwen Stefani (who cameos on “Can I Have It Like That”) to Jay-Z (“Young Girl”), and you could assert, based on chunks of In My Mind, Williams is twice as lost solo. More than half of In My Mind is worthwhile, though the fat is unsightly. “Can I Have It Like That,” “How Does It Feel,” and “Raspy Shit” easily cancel out drivel like “Angel” and “Young Girl,” just as “That Girl” (featuring Snoop Dogg) negates “Number One” (featuring Kanye West). “Best Friend” is a meandering rap taking awful cues from “Savin’ The Day” — you know, from Ghostbusters — while “You Can Do It Too” fails to argue a lazy jazz artifice qualifies as a song. “Angel” is post-Prince, falsetto R&B D’Angelo managed to pass over; “Baby” should have gone to Busta Rhymes or someone with recognizable flow; and “Show You How To Hustle” could have been made seven more times and successfully replaced the duds knocking In My Mind down all those pegs.
– Steve Forstneger
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