N.E.R.D.’s new album, Nothing, is out today — and Pharrell told Rolling Stone that it’s about short attention spans.
“I call this generation the ‘Microwave Generation,’ ” he said. “They want it hot and they want it now and they don’t care if it gets [stale] in 10 minutes, because they’re over it. It’s kinda made music into tacos!” (Watch the video to see how much farther he takes that metaphor.)
With that in mind, the band scrapped an entire album they had recorded called Instant Gratification, simply because they didn’t feel it was strong enough. “It had that microwave burn to it,” Pharrell said.
Hence the new album’s title, Nothing, because that’s where they started from. Whereas their previous efforts show traces of funk and New Wave, this one has a late ’60s/early ’70s feel. It’s a departure from both the group’s past work and anything Pharrell has done on his own or with Chad Hugo as the Neptunes.
Pharrell said the album is influenced by The Doors, among others. “There’s one [song] that feels like the Moody Blues, there’s Queen, American, CSN, Neil Young,” he said. “But it’s N.E.R.D doing it.”