Pharrell’s New Video is Pretty But Empty
“Freedom” lets the visuals get lyrical, but not the lyrics.
Bless Pharrell Williams’s heart; it’s in the right place. The pop star/producer extraordinaire’s new video and single, “Freedom,” has just been released and it looks gorgeous, but the lyrics are far from his best work.
Pharrell is the man who gave us “Happy,” the most joyous, unhateable song since Outkast’s “Hey Ya!,” so it's a major disappointment when he gives us vapid lyrics like “Your first name is Free/last name is Dom” and tired "everything is connected" observations that would even make Bono blush.
However, the video picks up the lyrics’ slack. Legendary video director Paul Hunter gives us gorgeously rendered re-creations of enslaved miners, sweatshop workers and Stepford-esque models juxtaposed with poetic one-off images (including a few lifted from Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life). But perhaps Pharrell—a co-conspirator of Robin Thicke’s infamous “Blurred Lines”—should have opted to leave out a brief but gratuitous nude shot of two women’s rear ends.
As usual, Pharrell’s musical production is on point. “Freedom” should have been the anthem he wanted it to be. Sadly, his ambition got out of his pen’s reach.