Label: The Neptunes
N.E.R.D's hipster cred dissipated after the widely hailed In Search of N.E.R.D. However, Pharrell, Chad Hugo and Shay are still capable of delightfully quirky adventures. On Nothing, they offer a poetic abstraction modeled after the Doors ("Help Me"), an earnest meditation on the environment ("Life as a Fish") and the kind of winsome jazz-rock melodies inspired by Steely Dan that are now the band's trademark. N.E.R.D built its name on clubby come-ons, and it makes a few valiant attempts here ("Hypnotize U"), but those seem perfunctory in the midst of Nothing's studious creativity.