A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that several songs at the beginning of this mixed-genre album deal with sexuality -- voyeurism and bragging about being a "nasty guy" and getting some "action." One song, "Everyone Nose," objectifies women and talks about snorting cocaine.
What's the story?
The third album from this funk-rock-hip-hop trio attempts to -- according to the group -- create a listening experience that stimulates and intermixes the senses of listeners. Member Pharrell Williams has gained notoriety, since the group's last album, as a super-producer for pop acts. With this new-found buzz, SEEING SOUNDS covers a wide range of styles and topics from your standard pick-up rap to cross-genre cerebral tracks.
With a nice mix of jazz, rock, and funk thrown into these raps, and a surprisingly high quality sample of vocal harmonies, N.E.R.D. makes an admirable attempt at bringing the often straightforward genre to a new level. Mellow tracks like "Sooner or Later" and "Yeah You" demonstrate the group's ability to borrow from different styles, like on the jazzy "Sooner or Later," the retro-rock "Happy," and the R&B-infused "Love Bomb."
Is it any good?
Although the group's lyrics rarely rise above the shallow and immature, there are times when their word-warping raps are inspired, such as on "Everyone Nose." Unfortunately, the songs' misogyny -- particularly found on the opening tracks -- can be a turn-off, but despite the constant "looking-for-action" mentality and foul language, the album is still worth a listen.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how a rap group markets itself. N.E.R.D. promotes itself as an enlightened, cerebral, and eccentric band. However, a lot of their lyrics follow standard rap conventions. How does marketing help establish an image beyond a group's actual work? Does an image sometimes become more important than the lyrical and musical content of a band?