Robin Thicke’s appeal and undeniable talent has always been appreciated in America but annoyingly neglected here in the UK. But after almost a decade in the game Thicke has finally hit a chord with UK audiences in the form of hit single and summer anthem ‘Blurred Lines‘ featuring Pharrell and T.I. Having spent 5 weeks at the top of the UK Singles chart and already selling over 1million copies its fair to say Mr Robin Thicke is the man of the moment.
His album of the same name was released last week and reached the top of the album chart dethroning Jay Z’s ‘MCHG‘ Not bad for a guy whose last album in 2011 ‘Love After War‘ failed to even chart in the UK. But does the album have what it takes to propel Thicke into greater European success or was it a case of him getting lucky with one song?
When speaking with ‘The Breakfast Club’ Thicke said that with this album he wanted to have fun, after taking himself so seriously with albums like ‘Love After War‘ and ‘Sex Therapy‘ he realised that not everything is black and white. He wanted to go back to having fun and make music him and his wife Paula Patton could dance to. Working with a range of producers such as Dr Luke (Britney Spears/Katy Perry) and Will I Am I was worried that this album would be a complete mess of over production, uninspired hooks and EDM (Electronic Dance Music) being the prevalent sound.
THANK GOD I WAS WRONG!
Any worries that Robin Thicke sold out his traditional Rnb/Soul sound to appease the ever fickle pop audience can put to rest with this album. It opens with title track ‘Blurred Lines‘ which I don’t really need to get in to as everyone and their Grandma knows the song. Its just unfortunate that the accompanying video has got Robin Thicke some bad press as some think he is exploiting women by having them frolic around naked.. even though it was the female director’s idea and if we want to talk female’s being exploited then lets talk about some of the music videos from Miss Nicki Minaj (Starships and High School come to mind).. but moving on.
I said earlier I was worried the overall sound of the album would be EDM and Dance but after hearing the album I’d say the overall sound is more disco then anything else. Songs like ‘Ooo La La‘ and ‘Ain’t No Hat 4 That’ are so breezy and mellow. Its like a throwback to the Michael Jackson era of disco with songs like ‘Rock With You‘ and ‘PYT‘ but Thicke makes it his own with his sultry falsetto and flirtatious appeal.
As features go the only other artist to make an appearance on this album aside from Pharrell and T.I is rapper Kendrick Lamar on second single ‘Give It 2 U‘. The beat is a bit more produced and base heavy then the usual Robin Thicke fan would be used to. But its a perfect follow up to ‘Blurred Lines’ as it continues with Robin’s cocky lothario attitude. The line ‘I gotta big dick for you’ says it all really. And again Thicke’s falsetto makes sure this song still has a soulful vibe against a pretty generic beat.
This album shows Thicke experimenting with his sound a bit more then his previous albums have shown to but the introspective, stripped back Thicke makes more than one appearance near the end of this album. ‘4 The Rest Of My Life‘ is what a lot of his fans have come to know from the soulful crooner. This man is in love so damn much and he doesn’t care what anyone says. Its a welcome appearance for anyone who thought Robin Thicke would alienate his fan base completely with this album. The songs ‘Top Of The World‘ and ‘Good Life‘ show that even though he may veer into more up-tempo tracks, his home is definitely in RnB/Soul.
A lot of other critics have cited this album as being juvenile and reductive and that he needs to ‘grow up’ but I highly doubt they ever listened to any of Thicke’s earlier music because any fan can tell you this is the least serious he has come across musically. And personally its a nice change. This is a breezy collection of songs which I doubt will offend or upset his current fan base but rather introduce a lot more people to him and his talent.
‘Blurred Lines’ as an album was a long time coming if previous songs like ‘Magic‘ and ‘Shakin’ It For Daddy‘ from the albums ‘Something Else’ and ‘Sex Therapy‘, respectively are anything to go by. He didn’t take any major risks with this album but he didn’t stick to his traditional formula either.
A white man doing Rnb/Soul will always bring up comparisons with a certain Timberlake which is a shame because both artist’s latest albums couldn’t be anymore different if they tried. Lets just put it like this;
The similarities with these men stop at their skin colour. Timberlake is Rnb/Pop whereas Thicke is Rnb/Soul. Timberlake is a dancer, Thicke is not. Timberlake’s songs are production orientated. Thicke is a lyricist. You get the idea.
Will this album continue Thicke’s winning streak? It’s too early to say as he runs the risk of lead single ‘Blurred Lines’ eclipsing his entire album but only time will tell. But for once the interest for Robin Thicke is there and not being ignored and as the EDM trend of music slowly fades away he could have a fighting chance.
I’m just happy that as a fan he switched it up and showed us a different side to him and that he is capable of making up tempo anthems. After 5 albums this change is commendable and seems like the most organic and REAL thing he could of done almost a decade into his career.