N.E.R.D., the memorable side-project by Neptunes‘ producers Pharrell and Chad Hugo, have reunited for “Squeeze Me,” off the forthcoming soundtrack for The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out Of Water. And the song ends up being more whimsical and fun than Slash appearing in the film’s debut trailer, before it segued to Guns N’ Roses‘ hard rock classic “Welcome To The Jungle.”
To a bouncy bongo rhythm and playground chants, Pharrell sings slyly from the perspective of, yes, SpongeBob SquarePants: “The best part is the middle of me-eee / I’m your sponge, baby, go on and squeeze.”
“We’re trying not to think too much in a cartoon sense, but more just like a psychedelic, otherworldy type of thing,” producer Chad Hugo recently said to Variety. “If you want to draw a parallel, maybe think of what The Beatles did with ‘Yellow Submarine.’”
Yes, “Squeeze Me” is perhaps more kid-friendly than most of N.E.R.D.’s musical output. And, no, this isn’t how N.E.R.D. fans pictured the trio’s reunion. Considering how Pharrell recently found massive success, though, the nature of this release still makes sense: Remember, “Happy” was just one of several singles from children’s movies in 2013, including Beyonce‘s “Rise Up” from Epic and Britney Spears‘ “Ooh La La” from Smurfs 2.
Then, nearly a year after its release, “Happy” helped launch Pharrell’s solo career to new heights (including a stint on The Voice, where his fellow coaches compare him to Yoda). Since then, “Happy” has become iTunes’ top-selling single of 2014. Pharrell’s appeal is broader than ever, which means that likely, N.E.R.D.’s will be too.