Robin Thicke – Blurred Lines
Record Label: Interscope Records
Release Date: July 30 2013
I’m a bit of a sucker for pop/R&B music. Justin Timberlake is actually my favorite artist, due to plenty of reasons, mainly his music itself, and his showmanship. It’s hard to find pop/R&B artists who do have substance to them, and who can also make very enjoyable music that is appealing to people but not too watered down. There aren’t too many anymore, sadly, and Canadian/American pop/R&B singer Robin Thicke was always one of these artists I was never quite familiar with, yet heard so much about. The most I knew about him was that he is the son of famous actor Alan Thicke, but other than that, I had never heard much of his music before. Earlier this year, I decided to listen to his breakout record, 2007’s sophomore record The Evolution of Robin Thicke, due to his most popular song “Lost Without U” being on it. The song itself is fantastic and has his signature sound on it, which is an acoustic guitar with a very sensual beat, along with his unique falsetto. I was hoping the rest of the record would be like that, and it kind of was. A lot of the songs didn’t do much for me, however. It wasn’t bad, but it felt a bit lackluster at times, and just bored me. I wasn’t quite interested in hearing sixth record Blurred Lines, but someone told me to listen to the title track, because she enjoyed it, so I did. The song itself was rather interesting, because it featured rapper T.I, and Pharrell, who has been in quite a few things recently, most notably Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky.” While the song has grown on me quite a bit, when I first head it, there was a LOT of things going on within the song. The instrumentation was very groovy and funky, Thicke’s range was all over the place (but very enjoyable), and the addition of T.I. and Pharrell made the track a bit more confusing. It’s grown on me a lot, but it was quite a confusing track on first listen. Lyrically, the song was quite interesting, too, but I wasn’t surprised. Thicke’s lyrics have either been romantic or sexual in nature, even both in the same song (see: “Lost Without U”). This record is chalk full of sexual innuendos and even some very straightforward and explicit lines. Some of them are actually enjoyable, and others are cringeworthy. The overall sound of the record is also a bit different from Evolution, and I’ll admit, I haven’t listened to any of his other records, but this record is a lot poppier and catchier than his others, from what it seems. And this record is full of catchy hooks, soaring and bouncy beats and instrumentation, along with Thicke’s lovely falsetto, and ultimately, his voice is what carries this record. There are some very weird moments on the record, but they don’t hinder the overall experience of the album. In fact, it would be safe for me to say that I like this record a lot more than The Evolution of Robin Thicke.
The record starts off with the title track, and as I mentioned, it’s a track that took me a little bit to really get into. Now that I’ve listened to the record quite a bit, I do enjoy it, but the song isn’t perfect at all. As I mentioned, having Pharrell and T.I. on the song made it a bit more confusing, because Pharrell doesn’t do anything but shout a few lines and a few “woos” here and there, and T.I. has a very short verse that comes and go quite quickly. Aside from that, the song is good for what it is – a catchy, addictive, pop/dance song. The lyrics are a bit ironic, considering all three men are happily married, so it’s clear they all had fun making the song, but even so, the lyrics are quite odd. Not even in that song alone, but in the rest of the record. In fact, most of the record does deal with either love or sex. Some songs, like the title track, second track “Take It Easy On Me,” or sixth track “Give It 2 U,” which is a song I’ll get to a bit later. On the flip side of things, there are a few slowed down tracks, such as third track “Ooo La La,” seventh track “Feel Good” and ninth track “4 the Rest of My Life.” The latter track is the only R&B “slow jam” on the record, and that’s another I’ll talk about a bit more later on. Finally, there are a few songs that don’t deal with either of those, and those songs are rather forgettable. Fourth track “Get In My Way” is about not letting people get in Thicke’s way, for whatever reason, and it’s catchy but cliché. The same can be said for last track “The Good Life,” which is about Thicke not complaining about his life at the moment. If anything, it sounds like a cheesy sitcom theme song, even though it’s not really bad. It’s just something that has been done to death.
Going back to the couple tracks I mentioned, “Give It 2 U” and “4 the Rest of My Life,” these two tracks are essentially polar opposites; the former is a sexualized track that happens to be one of my favorites, as well as one of my least favorite songs on the record. It’s one of my favorites, because of its composition. It’s a VERY catchy song, and it know what it’s doing. Thicke is on point, and his falsetto sounds like he’s breathing in helium. He also does some sing-song vocals during the verses, which is a bit different, and it works. Some of the lyrics are cringeworthy, but the song itself does hold up. What doesn’t work is guest rapper Kendrick Lamar. When I heard about this song, I was really excited, because I love Kendrick Lamar. I don’t listen to a lot of hip-hop, but he is great. I absolutely adored his last record, Good Kid M.A.A.D City, so I was pumped when I found out he would have a guest spot on here. Well, not only is his guest verse extremely short, it’s also not that good. He pulled a T.I. on this track by barely having any time, and not really good rhymes. Despite that, it’s still an enjoyable track. The latter track, on the other hand, is the only “slow jam,” as I mentioned. Lyrically, it’s a lot better, and by that, I mainly mean less explicit, and a lot more slowed down. The song is a rather cheesy ballad/slow jam about Thicke most likely professing his love for his wife, and talking about how he’s loved her since they were teenagers, because they started dating when Thicke was 16, now 36. Ultimately, this is one of the better songs on the record, because it shows Thicke at his finest. He can pull off the pop sound nicely, but it’s his R&B ballads that really show off his vocal skills. It’s sad that there’s only one song like this, and a couple more that are similar, but even then, it’s still nice.
Blurred Lines could easily be the record that gets Thicke into the “mainstream” a lot more, because of its much poppier sound and its blatantly sexual lyrics that litter the entire record. As far as pop records go, it does its job nicely. It’s not meant to be deep, philosophical, unique, but it’s fun, energetic, smooth, sexual, and everything that people usually eat up. Thicke’s voice is the best part of the record, and at times, his lower register even reminds me a bit of Daryl Hall from Hall & Oates, whom I enjoy quite a bit as well. Granted, they are not as sexual as Thicke, but they do have a similar R&B/soul type of sound. This is also a really nice “summer” record, because it fits the summer nicely. While there are better pop/R&B artists, Robin Thicke is definitely one to watch out for, nonetheless. The title track has already been getting him a lot more exposure, so I can’t imagine what the album itself will do.