I have a review in the pipe for Pharrell
's new album G I R L
(Columbia) for our next record review roundup, so you can wait until then to get my full take on the album. For now I'll just point out that for all the talk about the producer-singer-songwriter's recent success—with "Get Lucky," "Blurred Lines,"
—it's worth pointing out that Pharrell had his formula down just fine more than a decade ago, when he released the enduring summer jam "Frontin'" as a single off the Neptunes' Clones
compilation. Pharrell's more recent singles do have a polish and tautness that his earlier work lacks, but they're also missing some of the space and gruffness that made his earlier work so endearing. They're also missing badass Jay-Z verses. For today's 12 O'Clock Track
, rewind to '03 below.