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CD Review: N.E.R.D. 

Seeing Sounds

The Deal: N.E.R.D. cooks up a genre schizophrenic stew on their third studio album.

The Good: Their energy and diversity create a sense of anticipation that makes being purposefully unpredictable work for Seeing Sounds. "Everybody Nose (All The Girls Standing In The Line For The Bathroom)" is a sweaty, thumping club banger complete with massive drums, cymbal crashes, piano and hand claps. "Windows" has a weird local cover band charm about it. "Yeah You," "Sooner or Later," "Love Bomb" and "You Know What" are all soulful, smooth and melodic. "Anti Matter" is probably as crunk as N.E.R.D. gets.

The Bad: While screaming "All the girls standing in the line for the bathroom!" and "ADHD!" are both pretty infectious it begs the question, what the hell are they talking about? The same way a zone defense protects weak players in sports, great music and production shields suspect lyrics on this album. "Kill Joy" isn't a bad song, but the "Rapper's Delight" flow Pharrell uses is. The trouble with being creative is knowing when to unleash the hounds and when to keep it tied up. Seeing Sounds borderlines creative diarrhea on tracks like "Spaz" which is also hurt by its constant play on Zune commercials. The album could use some other voice; Kanye West is the lone guest appearance and that's only if you bought it on iTunes.

The Verdict: The beauty of being indefinable gives N.E.R.D. the luxury of taking risks that most groups never could with their music. Having someone like Pharrell in your group gives them a pass with some awesomely bad choices because he can make it sound so cool. You won't see sounds, but you will see yourself playing this musical experience more than once.

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