When Robin Thicke released the title track from his new album Blurred Lines, it seemed like a new beginning for the 36-year-old, whose previous material was average at best.
Ameri-Canadian Thicke has always been noted for his R&B musicality, and his new material is very much that; albeit with a more mainstream pop beat. Lead album track ‘Blurred Lines’ – the song with that controversial video – has quickly become the track of the summer, if not the year. Its catchy, ear-worm of a beat has had everyone tapping their feet – even those belonging to people that claim to hate the track.
However, after such a bouncy and addictive opener, the rest of the album feels a little bit ‘meh’. By introducing the album with (no doubt) its best track, Blurred Lines has peaked too soon. In all, the album is just one big cringe fest as questionable lyrics are integrated with influences from other musicians. Second track ‘Take It Easy On Me’ wouldn’t sound out of place on one of Timbaland’s early albums, whilst the vocals of ‘The Good Life’ thread their way through soulful beats that are reminiscent of Boys II Men. Track 3 – ‘Ooh La La’ – reflects the soul disco era, whereas ‘Get In My Way’ is a funky dance number that imitates Nile Rogers’ Chic.
Meanwhile, the track listing itself is probably the first in about ten years to contain numerical abbreviations in its various song titles, examples being ‘Ain’t No Hat 4 That’ and ‘4 The Rest Of My Life’. Shudder.
One track that is really worth a mention – and not for its brilliance – is ‘Give It 2 U’. The introductory bars are low down and electro-filled, bearing a resemblance the beginning of Justin Bieber’s track ‘Boyfriend’. However, instead of launching into the infamous “swag, swag, swag” lyrics, Thicke and his co-artist on the track, Kendrick Lamar, instead decide to announce: “I gotta big d*ck for ya, let me give it to ya”. Just to reiterate, Thicke is 36 years of age. His target audience is, now, teens and 20-somethings. That’s like your Dad declaring the size of his manhood right in your ear. Not to mention the fact that the now-not-so-cool word ‘fly’ is also used in the lyrics. Just, no. Cringe.
As a whole, the album just feels wrong. It’s as though a man has decided to make a novelty album for his wife, that draws on all her favourite genres of music ever, with a bit of over-exaggerated flirtation thrown in for good measure. To him – or Thicke in this case – it’s brilliant because he made it. To everyone else though, it is just wince-inducing.
Listening back, Robin Thicke’s older R&B material was brilliant in comparison to this new material. There’s no denying that ‘Blurred Lines’ is an excellent and addictive song, despite its rape-y and demeaning lyrics, but everything else on Robin Thicke’s newest LP is just a sex-infused, confused blur.
1 star ★✰✰✰✰