N*E*R*D, "Help Me"

75 Billboard Rating

After previewing new album "Nothing" with the bass-heavy party track "Hot-N-Fun," N*E*R*D offers a dramatic change in style on album cut "Help Me." The track features the trio taking aim at government corruption while working over a funky yet contemplative sound. Abandoning his falsetto in favor of bluesy singing, frontman Pharrell Williams asks, "See those war machines out there/Are packed with your karma, do you care?" over bass and rattling snare. The track succeeds mostly due to the emotion in Williams' voice, which expresses outrage during the verses and rushes forward just as the brass kicks in during the instrumental chorus. "Help Me" is an ambitious counter to the crowd-pleasing "Hot-N-Fun" and has the same attention-grabbing quality as past N*E*R*D tracks like "Lapdance" and "Rock Star."

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