Wednesday, April 16, 2014

"Here"- Pharrell, Johnny Marr, & Hans Zimmer

Orchestral folk-singer isn't exactly a hat you'd expect omnipotent singer/rapper/producer Pharrell to don, but on Amazing Spider-Man 2 track "Here" he wears it extremely well. After manning the boards on faux-disco cut "It's On Again" with Alicia Keys and Kendrick Lamar, "Here" sees Pharrell working with the far more random duo of Smiths-guitarist Johnny Marr and go-to film-scorer Hans Zimmer. Even knowing ahead of time that the three would be working together on the superhero flick's soundtrack didn't stop me from marveling at the credit list when I first saw it. If I was forced to create a more-random trio to craft a song this year, under penalty of death, I'm not sure if I could.

As I said in the opening though, Pharrell wears the hat of orchestral folk-singer incredibly well and not simply because he looks great in any hat. The collaboration works because no one is stepping on anyone's toes. Hans Zimmer's strings don't have the same massive oomph that marks his other superhero scores. They still glide skyward, but it never feels like an overreach. Likewise, Marr abandons his guitar wizardry for a plaintive acoustic figure that undergirds Pharrell's tender crooning. Lyrically nothing Pharrell is saying is revelatory; he generally sticks to unfettered declarations of love "on all existence." But he's so remarkably self-assured that you buy every word he's saying. By pulling back the curtains, "Here" places the spotlight firmly on Pharrell and he doesn't shy away in the slightest. 

(The Amazing Spider-Man 2 soundtrack is out April 22, but you can hear "Here" on Stereogum now.)

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