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N*E*R*D – Fly Or Die (2004)

July 20, 2018

[Album 609/1001]

Have you read The Song Machine: Inside The Hit Factory?

It’s a fascinating/frightening read.

In the section I finished earlier today, The Neptunes (Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo) were cited as one of the major production teams of the early 2000s.

N*E*R*D is their side project, where in addition to producing, they also write, sing, and play.

Interestingly enough, it wasn’t the production that stood out for me on Fly Or Die.

Instead, on the 3 occasions shown graphically below, it was the words commanded my undivided attention.




A. Track 2, Fly or Die
“I tried telling mom and dad, But they’re more concerned with the portfolio”

The narrator is looking for guidance after his girlfriend’s infidelity…and it sounds like his parents are too busy with their investments? I can’t say it’s a relateable experience, but I can say I was all ears for the rest of the track after this line!


B. Track 7, Waiting for You
(hidden track that follows Wonderful Place)220px-NERD_Fly_or_Die

Absolutely haunting lyric sheet about drowning.


C. Tracks 8 & 9, Drill SergeantThrasher
“You Don’t Understand Liberty until someone speaks for yours”
“Every once in a while there is some asshole 

Giving you shit, cause something in his life won’t fold”

Another couple of examples where I wasn’t just nodding/tapping along with the music (though I was) and I’ve been left thinking about those lines ever since.

As for their usual claim to fame, I’m not sure what makes their production style so revered, but I liked what I heard.

More importantly, I’m also not sure how much credit they get for the other aspects of their recordings, so I thought a tip of the hat to the group for their lyrics was in order!


Verbalize the Positive

This is one of those better-each-listen records, my favourite kind!


From → 2000s

  1. jprobichaud permalink

    I really liked The Neptunes’ remix of “Sympathy for the devil” but that is the only thing I’ve ever heard by them. Is this N*E*R*D thing worth a listen?

    • That remix sounds intriguing!
      I liked it – for my $3 investment, I’m pleased with the return!

      • jprobichaud permalink

        Can’t go wrong with $3 really.

  2. uncleb13 permalink

    This group gets nowhere near to respect they should! Because they release music pretty sporadically, I kinda have forgotten how great their music can be. Sure, there’s some duds in there, but most of it is exciting and challenging. Check out the “Seeing Sounds” disc, as well!

    • I just looked at the discography – you’re right, the release dates are sporadic, a 7-year gap at one point. Seeing sounds sounds promising, thanks!

  3. I haven’t listened to this in a good while. I really liked their first album at the time (well, the second, more rock shaped version of it) and never really took to this one the same way (though I did like it). I actually would have expected In Search Of… to be the one that appeared in the 1001, actually.

    • I gather they played the instruments on this one too (which maybe wasn’t the case on round one) – perhaps the book was rewarding that sort of step, rather than a higher overall album quality?

      • Y’know, I don’t think I ever checked who’s responsible for rocking it up, but it’s a good suggestion for this one making the grade ahead of the debut.

  4. Owned on CD, believe it or not. I can’t remember much about it but you have inspired me to dig it out for the car.

    • The car was where I did most of my listening for this one – feels like an appropriate listening context to enjoy it, even if it means using the CD medium!

  5. First time I saw the name Pharrell Williams was yesterday on a bus shelter. His face, in profile, was exhorting people not to text whilst driving. Which seemed kind of funny to me, given that most people standing ay a bus stop are not expecting to drive in the immediate future. Unless the bus driver has some sort of medical emergency, I suppose. Quick, Missus, take over the driving here while I apply CPR to the driver, but whatever you do, don’t text!
    Anyway, interesting to hear he has another career as well.

    • I do like those curious placements for promotions – my friend was telling me the other day he saw an ad before a Youtube Car video for Kingston Penitentiary tours – he lives 3 hours away!
      So not only did Pharell multi-task here on drums singing producing, he also dabbles in public service announcements!

  6. Wow man..what a breakdown of the track…
    Impressive Geoff as always….
    Always a good thing to leave a tip at the door!

  7. Very cool angle, I like it. I don’t know much about these people but if you dug it, I’d be willing to try it!

    • I wouldn’t be surprised if this passed through the OS Value Village at some point – I think I might have found mine at the Kingston location!

      • I’ve probably seen it several times and not thought a thing about it. Now I will…

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