Pharrell and Afrojack's NYE 2014 Party at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach
Courtesy of Fontainebleau
Last year was a sequel of sorts to Pharrell Williams' deluxe coffee table book Places and Spaces I've Been, in that the influential producer-crooner made cameos in a number of 2013's most significant pop cultural moments, as if he were a music industry version of Woody Allen's Zelig.
His catalog has always been a mix of lawless bangers dappled with dirt and stardust (see Neptunes) and sex songs characterized by a put-on sensuality belying a freakier undercurrent (see his daring and underrated 2006 solo album In My Mind, which crossed polite come-ons with unfiltered id).
So it makes sense that perhaps his smoothest year, pop culture-wise, would be a song about exploring (questionably worded) boundaries with your lover on "Blurred Lines" and staying up all night to "Get Lucky."
Courtesy of Fontainebleau Afrojack behind the 'Bleau's decks.
Over the past year, Pharrell also provided the hook for 2 Chainz's masterful, dealing drugs in the NSA-wiretapping era track, "Feds Watching," and the insane country-club stomp of Miley Cyrus and Nelly's "4x4." (In fact, Miley was originally slated to co-headline the Fontainebleau party with Mr. Williams and Afrojack. But instead, she chose ABC's New Year's Rockin' Eve. Bad move, girl.)
Having Pharrell actually perform instead of being a background fixture or a mere "host" at the 'Bleau's end-of-year party was an inspired move on the hotel's part, since he rarely gets to occupy and command a stage all on his own.
Also, Pharrell's push-pull between refined soulfulness and freaky grit was a great match for a night like New Year's Eve when people are on their worst behavior (shout out to the Fontainebleau's NYE 2013 headliner, Drake) while simultaneously trying to set a clean slate for the coming 365 days.