Robin Thicke – The Evolution of Robin Thicke
Record Label: Star Trak / Interscope
Release Date: October 3rd, 2006
As someone who used to listen to a majority of pop-punk, post-hardcore, metalcore, and “heavier” genres to some degree, R&B is not a genre that I ever thought I would be getting into, but over the last few months, I’ve been delving into other genres, and R&B was always one that really interested me. In 2011, Fall Out Boy frontman Patrick Stump released a pop/R&B record entitled Soul Punk, which was a record that showed a very different side to the man, and it was really cool. It was different, and I really liked it. It’s one of my favorite records of all time, in fact. So, with that being said, I really got into other artists, Michael Jackson, Frank Ocean, and Justin Timberlake just to name a few. These artists have been become some of my favorites. Fast forward to last month, and Justin Timberlake came back to music in a very humble and mysterious way. He released a new song entitled “Suit and Tie” which was a very interesting song that really showcased JT’s “class.” A lot of people compared JT’s high falsetto to Robin Thicke’s, which made me interested to listen to Robin Thicke’s music, so I started with his popular song, and his breakout song – “Lost Without U.” This song is the song that really broke him out into the mainstream, and for good reason. This song showcases what he’s most known for: a smooth falsetto accompanied by very smooth R&B instrumentation, and acoustic guitars. It’s my favorite song of his, hands down. So I decided to check out the record that song appears on, 2006’s The Evolution of Robin Thicke. After waiting a week to pick it up, because there were other things that I wanted to purchase first, I finally brought the record home, and was really excited to put it into my iTunes. With that being said, how is it? It’s exactly what I expected – a straightforward R&B record. Is that a bad thing? No, not at all; there aren’t many twists and turns, but for what it is, it’s very smooth and seductive, if you will. I will also that Thicke’s sound is far different from JT’s, so those comparisons to “Suit and Tie” are very obscure. Despite that, this record is still a very nice R&B/pop record. There are also some very interesting guest artists on here, too. Faith Evans (Biggie Smalls’ widow), Lil Wayne, and Pharrell all make appearances on the record; in fact, Pharrell helped to produce the record, too. Coincidentally, he also produced JT’s first record, Justified. His production skills are very nice, and do add to this record. Despite this record also being very straightforward, it’s not very generic, either; Thicke has a very smooth voice that’s really unique for the genre, and for music itself, really. And in fact, the best part about this record are his vocals. That’s what takes the stage here, and his vocals are easily my favorite part, and in a way, I wonder if that’s intentional. His vocals take the stage, and it really works. The only complaints I really have about this record are two things – the lyrics, and the overall length. The music itself is actually really nice, smooth, relaxing, and definitely very seductive, as I mentioned earlier. This is romantic music, and I like it. But lyrically, though, while they do deal with love and sex, they’re either really interesting, or cringe-worthy. As for the overall length, this record feels a bit too long, especially because it’s 73 minutes. If there was more variety in the lyrics, I could forgive that, because a record like JT’s FutureSex / LoveSounds is about 63 minutes, and while that’s a bit long for myself, the record is a very interesting listen because there are plenty of twists and turns. Every song is memorable and unique, so it doesn’t get boring whatsoever. I don’t want to say this record gets boring, but at times, it does get a bit grating. And despite it getting grating, there are some very strong songs on this record, too. The best ones are certainly worth the grating ones, so with that being said, let’s take a look at Robin Thicke’s supposed evolution, shall we?
The record begins with “Got 2 Be Down,” and the first thing that caught my eye was the tracklisting; a lot of the songs have misspelled words, which I don’t quite understand. That’s something that happens in pop/R&B a lot, but it doesn’t make much sense to me. It’s a nitpick, however, so I’ll let that slide. This song also makes a very ballsy move, because it features Faith Evans, who is rapper Biggie Smalls’ widow. What I mean is that it starts off with a song featuring someone. It’s an interesting to start off the record, but does work nicely. She actually does quite a good job on this song, and it’s a nice introduction to his sound, too; it’s a very smooth track with Evans and Thicke’s vocals serenading the listeners with rather seductive lyrics. And every other song really follows in this sense, except for a few. Second track “Complicated” is one of these different songs, because it shows off Thicke’s vocals with a very nice piano riff, and lyrically, this is an interesting track, because it does deal with love, but about how Thicke wants to get a girl back. This is one of the few tracks that don’t deal with being in love directly. Fourth track “Lost Without U” is another interesting song, and like I mentioned, it’s my favorite. This is the catchiest song on the record by far, so it’s for good reason that this is his breakout track. This is a very catchy song that shows Thicke at his best. If he released more songs like this, he would be a monster in R&B, and in all honesty, he already is.
Despite how I’m talking about the most enjoyable songs, let’s move onto some I do not enjoy, shall we? Well, one of those songs is “All Night Long,” which features rapper Lil Wayne. To that I say, yuck. I don’t like Wayne very much, and in fact, not at all. I went into this with an open mind, and surprisingly, he’s not terrible, but he’s not very good, either. Let me ask a rhetorical question, does anyone reading this remember the song “Payphone” by Maroon 5 featuring Wiz Khalifa? Well, that song was pretty good, in my opinion, but the thing that killed it was Wiz’s verse, because it was totally unnecessary and he did not contribute anything memorable to the song. The same can be applied to this track, really; Lil Wayne doesn’t really contribute anything, and his verses just kind of just falls to the wayside. Moving on, the next track, “Everything I Can’t Have” is one of my favorite tracks. This is what I meant by Thicke having a unique sound. This is a really cool song. This is also a song that’s not really about love, but how Thicke wants fame, fortune, and everything to go along with it. This song has a very nice sound to it, too; pianos, horns, everything. It’s just a monster of a track, and his falsetto just dominates this song. His voice just has that “swagger,” and I absolutely love it. The next track, on the other hand, “Teach U a Lesson” is one of the few songs I don’t really like a lot on the record, and what I meant about the really bad lyrics. The instrumentation is very smooth, and Thicke’s vocals are very solid, but it’s the cringing lyrics that I cannot stand. At this point, I’m about a little under halfway into the record, and it’s quite enjoyable so much. The next half is nice, too, though; tracks like “I Need Love,” “Wanna Love U Girl,” and “2 the Sky” are rather generic tracks, but really do showcase Thicke’s voice and overall sound. One of my favorite tracks is eleventh track “Can U Believe,” however; this song really does take everything I like about Thicke and combines it into one song. Next track “Shooter” is another song that features Lil Wayne, and actually was a single by Lil Wayne as well, which surprises me, to be honest. This song is enjoyable, but not a highlight, like the other song he appeared on. Why he appeared on two songs doesn’t really make much sense to me. The last two songs on this record are a couple more interesting tracks, because they’re some of the more slowed down tracks. “Lonely World” is also an interesting track lyrically as well. This is a very slowed down ballad that’s really about a pair of people who are quite lonely, as the title suggests. “Angels” is a 9-minute track that’s another slowed down track, and it features a hidden track at the end, that’s not necessarily a hidden track, but more so, an instrumental. It’s a very relaxing and smooth way to end the record. Despite the record being about 73 minutes, it’s still worth plenty of listens, especially for R&B fans.
Typical white person review of Black music. If an R&B song is not by JT, it's not good. Straight racism. P.S. If you don't like R&B music, don't review it. I don't review white boy rock music because I don't like it therefore I will have a bias view.