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Fly or Die
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
What's the story?
As the Neptunes, pop music producers Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo have created glossy platinum hits for superstar artists as diverse as Justin Timberlake, Jay-Z, and Britney Spears. But on their own time, as N.E.R.D., they do whatever they want. There's strong language, but it's used contextually and doesn't hit you over the head in the take-no-prisoners way we've become way too accustomed to hearing. Some sexual innuendo (and a few explicit lyrics) also feels less aggressive than usual. The \"clean\" version is (predictably enough) hard to find in stores.
Is it any good?
Musically, FLY OR DIE is a little bit wonderful and a little bit of a big old mess. So many classic rock, funk, and soul references all mixed up together are fun and interesting, but also confusing. It seems as though these guys threw in everything they could think of simply for the purpose of being different, and just because they could. They seem to be referencing Jimmi Hendrix, the Beatles, later Beach Boys, honky-tonk, jazz, funk, Santana, and psychedelic pop just for starters. Some listeners will love the mish-mosh; others will wish for more cohesiveness and focus -- it's almost as though these guys were crossing off a musical "to-do list," trying to cover all the bases and show off their varied musical influences at the expense of ending up with an album that makes cohesive sense.
Ironically, Fly or Die would have benefited from exactly the kind of attention they are so good at giving to others -- the strong guiding hand of a good producer.