A Fish Doesn’t Know When It’s Wet
By Pharrell Williams; Rizzoli New York; $55
It’s likely you know Pharrell best from his musical successes, including co-producing songs for others (Britney Spears’ “I’m a Slave 4 U,” Nelly’s “Hot in Here”) or writing and performing them himself (the megahit “Happy”). But the star is also an author, now following up his bestselling book Places and Spaces I’ve Seen with A Fish Doesn’t Know When It’s Wet, which continues to chronicle his adventures in art and design, celebrity and fashion. Pharrell is evidently obsessed with the last of these — as evidenced by page after page of photography capturing pieces, from those he helped to design to others that simply intrigued him, not to mention an interview between Pharrell and fashion luminary Karl Lagerfeld.
Lagerfeld is hardly alone in bringing boldface name value to the book, which also includes conversations with Taraji P. Henson, Janelle Monae, Octavia Spencer and Oprah Winfrey. Ultimately, the book presents itself as a series of deep dives into a fairly disparate buffet of topics. Whether you’ll appreciate it probably has less to do with whether you like Pharrell as an artist and more to do with whether you happen to be fascinated by the same topics that captivate him. In his interview with Lagerfeld, Pharrell posits that “good taste [is something] you’ll never be able to explain. You could attempt to explain it but I believe it is a mystery.” You’ll almost definitely walk away from this book with a sense of Pharrell’s taste, but will you think it’s good? I believe that is a mystery.
Last modified: November 28, 2018