Every N*E*R*D Song, Ranked
In search of... #1
As has been proven time and time again, no band ever really dies, so the return of N*E*R*D seven years after their last album should come as no surprise. But it wasn’t exactly expected when they dropped “Lemon,” a fiery track featuring Rihanna, last week, along with an addictive video. Based on their stunning performance at ComplexCon over the weekend, there is more good music to come, including jams glittering with guests like Kendrick Lamar, M.I.A., Andre 3000 and others.
While nothing about the album is fully confirmed, including the title, No_One Ever Really Dies, when you consider that some fans of “Happy,” head nerd Pharrell Williams’ monster hit from 2013, may not have even been born when the band’s last album came out, it seems a good time for a refresher and reassessment of what they have accomplished so far.
N*E*R*D was formed around 1999 as a side project to the extraordinary production work Williams and Chad Hugo were doing as The Neptunes. Another friend of theirs, Shay Haley, is also a member of the group, although he seems to act as more of a guru figure as he receives very little official credit for either songwriting or production on any of their albums. There he is playing Nintendo on the cover of their first album, though!
Over the course of four uneven albums, Williams and Hugo alternately used N*E*R*D as either a sandbox for new production ideas or a way to pursue interests outside the confines of hip hop and pop, namely indie rock and hard funk. At their best, they managed to very nearly exemplify the finest of any genre they chose to explore.
Without further ado, here are the 56 official N*E*R*D songs ranked in order of worst to best. We will update the rankings to include the new material when it is released and we’ve had a chance to live with it for a while.