Here's one for the girls

Here's one for the girls
Singer Pharrell Williams performs at the BRIT Awards, celebrating British pop music, at the O2 Arena in London.

SINGAPORE - Pharrell Williams is hot, hot, triple hot again. Over the last 12 months, you would have jiggled along to Blurred Lines, Get Lucky and, yes, Happy.

Yes, sir and ma'am, Williams has a hand in all three hit singles: Robin Thicke's eyebrow-raising single, Daft Punk's summer anthem, and his own theme from Despicable Me 2.

Still, there's a teeny pesky problem. He and Thicke got it good from feminists who show umbrage at the sexual objectification of women in Blurred Lines (song and video).

G I R L, Williams' second solo album, is aimed at ameliorating such raw nerves.

Just as Blue Jasmine actress Cate Blanchett took great pains not to mention Woody Allen's name in her speeches to the Oscars' run-up (until she won the Best Actress nod), Williams intuits it makes career sense to disassociate himself from bad press.

G I R L - note the declarative, spaced-out capital letters - is a "gesture" and a celebration of women, said R&B's former most eligible bachelor who got hitched to model-designer Helen Lasichanh last year.

The first song, Marilyn Monroe, may well be a tribute to his new wife.

He won't bat an eye at the superlative Marilyn Monroe, Queen Cleopatra and "not even Joan of Arc", as cinematic pizzicato strings duel with pitter-patter beats.

The perky Brand New, a collaboration with another former hot bachelor, Justin Timberlake, continues the gender rehabilitation as he sings about how his girl makes him, well, brand new.

It also aligns himself with Timberlake's own honeymoon record, last year's The 20/20 Experience.

Terribly smart, too, is his move to lend Happy to a blockbuster cartoon flick such as the Despicable Me franchise.

"Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof," he exhorts over a mix of handclaps, a burping bassline and a female chorus cooing "happy".

Being happy doesn't mean you have to be desexed, of course. The ebullient doozie is blithely followed by the come-hither Come Get It Bae, with Miley Cyrus playing the fly girl to his, say, R. Kelly as he utters such double entendres as "Take it easy on the clutch".

And that's the lesson from his success story: You can respect everybody and have a good time as well. Applause.


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