In music, a bridge is a contrasting section that prepares for the return of the original material section. Here are my top 5 bridges produced by The Neptunes, who became masters of the bridge during their domination of R&B/popular music circa 2000-2005.
Usher Ft. P. Diddy – I Don’t Know
As soon as you hear the progression of the strings at the end of the second chorus you know you’re in for a treat. Those strings are complemented by light keys and some beautifully delivered vocals from Usher whose tone fits excellently with the melodic direction of the bridge.
Justin Timberlake Ft. Clipse – Like I Love You
Perhaps the most famous bridge on this list, ‘Like I Love You’ was the perfect song to introduce Justin Timberlake as a solo artist. Justin’s vocals often (and justifiably so) steal the listener’s attention with the use of some fantastic harmonies and the iconic “I just wanna love ya, baby!”, but The Neptunes provided an irresistible platform for Timberlake to excel. You already know the drums are some of the nastiest you’re likely to hear on a pop record, but the guitar strings that introduce the bridge are delicious, soon followed by distorted synth keys that accentuate the lead melody.
Justin Timberlake – Señorita
This makes it on the list due to its complexity alone, as there are so many superbly crafted elements to the ‘Señorita’ bridge. It begins with Justin’s lead vocals (“When I look into your eyes…”) before his engaging harmonies (including the “Just listen baby…”-led adlibs) are brought in to support the variety of instrumentation that’s been constructed by The Neptunes.
N*E*R*D – She Wants To Move
‘She Wants To Move’ has a bridge dominated by the aggressive, lead electric guitar and supported by the other guitar riff that can be heard throughout the song. Additionally, vocals from Shae and Pharrell add to the soundscape, commencing with Pharrell’s now famous “This your part, girl!” while Shae provides the constant reminder of the female’s intentions.
Justin Timberlake – Take It From Here
Another taken from what seemed to be The Neptunes R&B prime of the early-to-mid-2000’s, ‘Take It From Here’ is fantastically driven by stabbed bass notes and a guitar, before dashes of strings provide an elegant finish to a wonderfully composed piece of music. Meanwhile, Timberlake does well to sit in the pocket and use the instrumentation as a suitable guide for his vocals.