(Credit: Frank Schwichtenberg)

Old School Archives

Why Pharrell Williams regrets one of his biggest tracks

@josephtaysom

Pharrell Williams is responsible for masterminding some of the greatest tracks of the century. However, for many, they’ll know him solely for his commercial breakthrough, which the superstar producer is embarrassed by for multiple reasons.

At the turn of the century, Williams started to make a name for himself when he began working with the likes of Jay-Z and Nelly. His production with The Neptunes soon started to dominate the era, and he then formed the revered N.E.R.D. who he balanced alongside his life at the mixing desk.

After the group’s second album, Williams experimented as a solo artist and shared his debut record In My Mind in 2006. It charted at number three in the Billboard Chart, but it would be another eight years before he’d deliver another record.

In 2013, Williams was unavoidable following the year being dominated by ‘Blurred Lines’, which he released with Robin Thicke, and his Daft Punk collaboration, ‘Get Lucky’. Furthermore, in 2014, he released ‘Happy’ and completed his transition to popstar.

However, now Williams feels remorse about the hit after it was heavily accused of celebrating rape culture. It was banned at various Universities across the United Kingdom and was also labelled misogynistic by multiple charities.

Initially, Pharrell defended the track and said he didn’t understand why people were upset. However, five years later, he re-evaluated his opinion and admitted that he was in the wrong.

“I didn’t get it at first,” he told GQ in 2019. “Because there were older white women who, when that song came on, they would behave in some of the most surprising ways ever. And I would be like, ‘Wow.’ They would have me blushing.

“So when there started to be an issue with it, lyrically, I was, like, ‘What are you talking about?’ There are women who really like the song and connect to the energy that just gets you up. And ‘I know you want it’ — women sing those kinds of lyrics all the time. So it’s like, what’s rapey about that?

“Then I realised that there are men who use that same language when taking advantage of a woman, and it doesn’t matter that that’s not my behaviour,” Pharrell explained. “Or the way I think about things. It just matters how it affects women. And I was like, ‘Got it. I get it. Cool.’ My mind opened up to what was actually being said in the song and how it could make someone feel.”

He added: “Even though it wasn’t the majority, it didn’t matter. I cared what they were feeling too. I realised that we live in a chauvinist culture in our country. Hadn’t realised that. Didn’t realise that some of my songs catered to that. So that blew my mind.”

Additionally, accusations later emerged from Emily Ratajkowski, who claimed that Thicke sexually harassed her on the video set, which thickened the dark cloud over ‘Blurred Lines’.

Contrarily, Pharrell seems to have grown from the incident, and seemingly, it was a naive mistake rather than his heart being in the wrong place.