For years, Pharrell Williams was, you know, that guy: the one in The Neptunes and sometimes in N.E.R.D., the one who did production stuff and fashion stuff and released an ok solo album called In My Mind in 2006. Famous, yeah; but maybe not quite a household name in the UK.
Then came 2013 and three number one singles: as guest on Daft Punk's Get Lucky and Robin Thicke's Blurred Lines, and under his own name on Happy, that Motown-lovin' bundle of joy from the Despicable Me 2 soundtrack.
At the Oscars last Sunday, performing Happy as a Best Song nominee, he looked like the cat in the hat who'd got the cream. And no wonder: he knew that his second solo album, G I R L, would be released the following day.
G I R L continues the retro disco vibe set up by Daft Punk's Random Access Memories, but sports a cooler, funkier groove that's recognisably Pharrell's own. At times (opener Marilyn Monroe, for example) it hits a musical nerve that, in a perfect world, might have been where Michael Jackson would currently be moonwalking, with its celestial falsetto, string orchestrations and irresistible bass. It even makes some slight lyrical amends for Blurred Lines' sins.
Put it all together and, come T in the Park, Pharrell Williams will eclipse them all.