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N*E*R*D (pronounced 'en ee are dee', but also often referred to as simply 'nerd') is the name of a alternative rock band consisting of Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo of The Neptunes and their friend Shay Haley. Their music is best described as funk/rock, with various other influences, including soul music, hip hop music, and blues rock. Pharrell explains; "What is a N*E*R*D? N*E*R*D stands for No one Ever Really Dies. The Neptunes are who we are and N*E*R*D is what we do. It's our life. N*E*R*D is just a basic belief, man. People's energies are made of their souls. When you die, that energy may disperse but it isn't destroyed."
In Search Of...:
Williams and Hugo originally recorded the band's debut album, In Search Of..., for European release in 2001 using similar digital production techniques used on Neptunes-produced records. However, they decided that if N*E*R*D was to be different from the Neptunes, it should sound different. This led to them re-recording the album (still titled In Search Of...) with the power pop band Spymob for worldwide release in 2002. Brady and Dylan (tubs) are great examples of these
In Search Of... achieved moderate success in the U.S.: the album reached number 59 on the Billboard 200; its first single, "Lapdance", reached the top 40 on the modern rap charts; and its second single, "Rock Star", reached the top 40 of the modern rock charts in the US. "Lapdance" also went top 40 in the Netherlands and its music video received heavy airplay on American MTV2. The album was well-received by critics even though it was not as successful as many of the Neptunes' previous productions.
The album won the second annual Shortlist Music Prize, awarded (by a group of musicians, journalists, and other music professionals) to the best album of the year which had sold less than 500,000 copies at the time of nomination. The band performed at the show, bragging that the week prior to the ceremony, the album had, in fact, achieved gold status by selling over 500,000 units.
A 6.1 surround mix of this album was released by DTS Entertainment on a DVD-Audio disk in 2005 under catalog number 7243 8 11521 9 5.
Fly or Die:
The band recorded its second album Fly or Die during 2003. The band actually learned to play the tunes live, as Chad Hugo told MTV News on December 9, 2003: "We're the ones playing the instruments live this time. "I just started playing guitar last year so I'm learning as we go. Pharrell's playing drums. [Last time] we didn't have time to learn certain instruments so we got Spymob to help us out."
Several of the tracks discuss issues of particular concern to adolescents, for example "Thrasher", which is about bullies and street violence; "Drill Sergeant", about rebellion and war; and "Backseat Love", which talks about first love.
Fly or Die went on sale on March 22, 2004. The album has so far gone top 10 in the USA, while the lead-off single, "She Wants to Move", has gone top 5 in the UK, top 20 in Norway, Ireland, and Denmark, and top 40 in Australia and the Netherlands. The music videos for "She Wants To Move" and its followup single, "Maybe", have received strong support from the digital cable network VH1 Soul in America.
In March 2005, Williams told BBC Radio 1 that he was unhappy with the band's direction under management at Virgin Records and therefore the group had "expired". He later issued a statement through the group's manager retracting his previous comments saying the band had not broken up.
N*E*R*D have been in the studio recording the follow-up to 2004's 'Fly Or Die'. Pharrell says the new album is called N*3*R*D and is set to be released Spring 2008.