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"Can I Have It Like That"
Single by Pharrell featuring Gwen Stefani
from the album In My Mind
Released October 31, 2005
Format CD, 7" vinyl, 12" vinyl, digital download
Recorded 2005
Genre East Coast hip hop
Length 3:55
Label Virgin, Star Trak, Interscope
Writer(s) Pharrell Williams
Producer Pharrell Williams
Pharrell singles chronology
"Let's Get Blown"
"Can I Have It Like That"
"I Ain't Heard of That"
Gwen Stefani singles chronology
"Can I Have It Like That"

"Can I Have It Like That" is a song performed by rapper Pharrell Williams featuring Gwen Stefani. It was written and produced by Williams for his 2006 debut album In My Mind, and the song is the opening track. The song's hook comes from a one-line contribution from Stefani, used as part of a call and response in the chorus. The song received generally negative reviews from music critics.

"Can I Have It Like That" was released as the album's lead single in October 2005 (see 2005 in music). It was commercially unsuccessful in the United States, but fared somewhat better worldwide. A rock remix of the song featured Travis Barker playing the drums and Pharrell playing the guitar.


Background and composition

P. Diddy was originally designated to use the track that Williams created. Several other artists were also interested in using it, but Williams changed his mind and decided to use the song himself.[1] In mid 2005, he worked with Stefani in Miami, Florida on her second solo album The Sweet Escape (2006). While she was in the booth recording "Breakin' Up", he told her that he had a song he thought would be his first single. Stefani asked to hear it, and he said that he wanted to record her for the track after the two finished working on "Breakin' Up". Stefani, however, insisted that they work on "Can I Have It Like That" then, and Williams recorded her performing the song's hook.[2] She contributed one line, which she performed twice, to the song.[3]

Problems listening to this file? See media help.

Williams' rap is in a throaty baritone,[4] described as a "honey-coated version" of the styles of Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre.[5] He raps about his current lifestyle as well as his life and achievements. The rap is set over a rhythm section consisting of an irregular beat and a grinding bass.[4][6] The track reflects Williams' minimalist style, and it is inflected with jazz music,[7] including a trumpet part during the bridge.[8]

Critical reception

"Can I Have It Like That" received generally negative reviews from music critics. Josh Tyrangiel of Entertainment Weekly called it an "odd opener" to In My Mind and remarked that Williams "never commits to putting his hips into it", leaving the track without any climax.[6] The Observer's Luke Bainbridge, however, referred to the song as "a grinding instant smash".[9] For IGN, Spence Abbott described Williams' rapping as "a little sticky, but…ruggedly appealing in a manner of speaking", and commented that "it's the shuffling and infectious beat…that will have you swerving and slinking like a cobra with epilepsy."[4] In his review for Slant Magazine, Preston Jones characterized the song as "curiously inert", adding that it sounded better as a sample on Girl Talk's 2006 mashup album Night Ripper.[10]

Stefani's presence as a featured artist on the song received negative reviews from music critics.'s Ivan Rott commented that the song's funk-influenced sound "definitely knocks", but was disappointed in Stefani's contribution, finding its repetition tedious.[11] Evan McGarvey of Stylus Magazine also found it repetitive, and described "Can I Have It Like That" as "a brief distillation of everything calamitous about [Williams'] and Chad Hugo's production style".[8] The Guardian stated that Stefani's part was the only catchy hook on In My Mind, but added that it "seems to be built around a one-line cast-off found on the Love Angel Music Baby factory floor."[12] Finding "Can I Have It Like That" a "slow burner" that offered a "promising hint at what else is to come" on In My Mind, Claire Simpson stated in her OMH Media review that Stefani's contribution was "purely cosmetic and clearly a transparent means of getting her name on the single to not only boost her own credentials but to help draw Pharrell to the attention of her increasingly mainstream following."[5]

Chart performance

"Can I Have It Like That" was commercially unsuccessful in the United States. It debuted at number ninety-seven on the Billboard Hot 100 and peaked at number forty-nine three weeks later. It exited the chart after eight weeks.[13] It was somewhat more successful in urban contemporary and rhythmic contemporary markets, reaching number twenty on the Hot Rap Tracks, number thirty-one on the Rhythmic Top 40, and number thirty-two on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs.[14] It had some crossover success in mainstream music and reached number fifty-one on the Billboard Pop 100.[15]

The single was more successful in Europe, where it reached number eleven on the Billboard European Hot 100 Singles chart.[16] "Can I Have It Like That" is Williams' highest charting British single to date, after debuting at number three on the UK Singles Chart behind Westlife's cover of "You Raise Me Up" and Arctic Monkeys' "I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor".[17] It was unable to reach a higher position and left the chart after eleven weeks. The song was less successful throughout Europe and reached the top twenty in Finland, Ireland, and Norway; the top forty in Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, and Switzerland; and the top eighty in Austria and France.[13]

"Can I Have It Like That" was somewhat successful elsewhere. It debuted at number twenty-one on the ARIA Singles Chart and after gradually descending the chart, reached a second peak at number thirty-one seven weeks later. It remained on the chart for a total of twelve weeks. After debuting at number twenty, the song peaked at number eighteen on the New Zealand Singles Chart.

Music video

Stefani and Williams performing in front of a sort of equalizer.

The song's music video was directed by Paul Hunter. It depicts Williams being watched by a secret organization. Aware that he is being watched, he talks to a woman, revealed to be Stefani, on the phone. He makes appearances at an exclusive boat party and at another party in his penthouse.[18] There are intercut sequences of people including Williams and Stefani dancing in front of a large equalizer, Williams standing in front of explosions, and people skateboarding.And also shows Pharell's black Enzo Ferrari (car).[3]

The music video was filmed in late September 2005. The cinematography is designed so that the music video becomes the secret organization's surveillance of Williams. It uses shifting camera angles to create tension.[18] The scenes in front of the equalizer were filmed in front of a greenscreen, and the explosion sequences were shot live on the streets of Los Angeles, California. In the penthouse scene, he is accompanied by two naked women with leopard-pattern body paint and a baby cougar. Hunter came up with the idea of showing body-painted women, and Williams suggested sitting with the cougar because he "wanted to exude power."[3]

The video had little success on video chart programs. To date, it is Williams' only video as a main artist to debut on MTV's Total Request Live.[19] It was on the program's countdown for three days, reaching number nine.[20] The video was unable to make MuchMusic's Countdown.[21]

Track listings

12" vinyl single
  1. "Can I Have It Like That" (clean) – 3:57
  2. "Can I Have It Like That" (dirty) – 3:57
  3. "Can I Have It Like That" (instrumental) – 3:57
  4. "Can I Have It Like That" (a cappella) – 3:49
American 7" vinyl single
  1. "Can I Have It Like That" (clean) – 3:57
  2. "Can I Have It Like That" (dirty) – 3:57
British CD single
  1. "Can I Have It Like That" – 3:59
  2. "Can I Have It Like That" (the Travis Barker remix) – 4:10


Chart (2005) Peak
Australian ARIA Singles Chart 22
Belgian Singles Chart 32
Danish Singles Chart 8 [22]
Dutch Top 40 25
French Singles Chart 78
Italian Singles Chart 17
Irish Singles Chart 12
Swedish Singles Chart 60
Swiss Singles Chart 28
Chart (2005) Peak
UK Singles Chart 3
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 49
U.S. Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs 32
U.S. Billboard Hot Rap Tracks 20
Chart (2006) Peak
New Zealand RIANZ Singles Chart 18


  1. ^ Bainbridge, Luke. "Just Williams". The Observer. November 6, 2005. Retrieved October 17, 2007.
  2. ^ Reid, Shaheem and Bland, Bridget. "Pharrell Had To Be Sneaky To Record His Solo Album". MTV News. November 15, 2005. Retrieved October 17, 2007.
  3. ^ a b c Vineyard, Jennifer. "Pharrell 'Can't Complain' About Lady Leopards; Gwen Moons Over Him On Video Set". MTV News. November 11, 2005. Retrieved October 17, 2007.
  4. ^ a b c Abbott, Spence. "Pharrell - In My Mind". IGN. July 28, 2006. Retrieved October 19, 2007.
  5. ^ a b Simpson, Claire. "Pharrell feat. Gwen Stefani - Can I Have It Like That : single review". OMH Media. Retrieved October 19, 2007.
  6. ^ a b Tyrangiel, Josh. "In My Mind | Music Review". Entertainment Weekly. July 21, 2007. Retrieved October 18, 2007.
  7. ^ Hoard, Christian. "In My Mind : Pharrell : Review". Rolling Stone. July 24, 2006. Retrieved October 23, 2007.
  8. ^ a b McGarvey, Evan. "Pharrell - In My Mind - Review". Stylus Magazine. July 25, 2006. Retrieved October 23, 2007.
  9. ^ Bainbridge, Luke. "Pharrell Williams, In My Mind". The Observer. October 16, 2005. Retrieved October 23, 2007.
  10. ^ Jones, Preston. "Music Review: Pharrell: In My Mind". Slant Magazine. 2006. Retrieved October 23, 2007.
  11. ^ Rott, Ivan. "Pharrell - In My Mind". Retrieved October 18, 2007.
  12. ^ "Pharrell, In My Mind". The Guardian. July 21, 2006. Retrieved October 18, 2007.
  13. ^ a b "Pharrell and Gwen Stefani - Can I Have It Like That - Music Charts". α Retrieved October 18, 2007.
  14. ^
  15. ^ "Pop 100 - Can I Have It Like That". Billboard. Retrieved October 18, 2007.
  16. ^ "European Hot 100 Singles - Can I Have It Like That". Billboard. Retrieved October 18, 2007.
  17. ^ "UK Singles Top 75 - Music Charts". α Retrieved October 19, 2007.
  18. ^ a b Vineyard, Jennifer. "Pharrell's Got Naked Women, Fireballs And, Oh Yeah, Gwen Stefani For Clip". MTV News. September 27, 2005. Retrieved October 18, 2007.
  19. ^ "The TRL Archive - Debuts". ATRL. Retrieved October 19, 2007.
  20. ^ "The TRL Archive - Recap - October 2005". ATRL. Retrieved October 23, 2007.
  21. ^ "MuchMusic Countdown". MuchMusic. Retrieved October 19, 2007.
  22. ^
  1. "Pharrell Feat. Gwen Stefani- Can I Have It Like That (Song)." Retrieved on 2006-12-21.
  2. "Pharrell & Gwen Stefani Can I Have It Like That?" Retrieved on 2006-12-21.

External links

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