Robin Thicke, ‘Blurred Lines’ – Album Review
It took Robin Thicke six albums and a good amount of behind-the-scenes writing credits, but he got it: his first No. 1 single with ‘Blurred Lines.’ The track became an Internet phenomenon from the get-go with the release of its titillating video and the video’s subsequent ban on Youtube. Though it’s No. 1 status was a surprise, Top 40 was never a priority for Robin, and may still not be, but he was aiming for something bigger with his sixth album, also titled ‘Blurred Lines.’
Check the list of collaborators on this effort: Kendrick Lamar, Timbaland, will.i.am and Pharrell. The last song Robin and Pharrell teamed up on was in 2006, for ‘Wanna Love U Girl,’ the first single off his monster sophomore album, ‘The Evolution of Robin Thicke.’ After that, the pair went their separate ways. For the most part, Robin’s been consistently working with producer Pro J on all of his albums. An exception to that rule was ‘Sex Therapy,’ in which the singer ventured out to work with Jeff Bhasker and Polow Da Don.
Robin told Rolling Stone recently, “I definitely felt that monkey on my back, like a quarterback who hasn’t won a Super Bowl yet and was supposed to.” It seems that Robin got diligent about removing that monkey off his back and enlisted the help of an A-List team including Pharrell to make an album that makes you think of Bobby Caldwell on speed.
It might be easy to proclaim this a summer body of work, due July 30, but the grooves will take you well into the next season. Robin has ventured out of the smooth R&B that we’ve come to know him for because one thing is clear with ‘Blurred Lines': he wants us to dance.
1. ‘Blurred Lines’
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that a song with a video of naked models running around would be the hit of the summer, but here we are. Marvin Gaye‘s ‘Got to Give It Up’ served as inspiration in recreating the bounce element of the record, which was written in 30 minutes. The “Hey, hey, hey!” conjures memories of Fat Albert, and that’s all right.
2. ‘Take It Easy On Me’
From a Pharrell production to a Timbaland-booming synth experience, the second track sets the tone for the album as a dance event. Timbo lends a couple of ad libs as does a female moaner. Paula Patton, is that you?
3. ‘Ooo La La’
“You can have my body. You can have my money,” coos Robin as he rides a smooth-disco track that invokes images of Saturday Night Fever.
4. ‘Ain’t No Hat 4 That’
This track blends in perfectly with the previous disco-tinged record. The prominent bass line almost teeters on funk, but Thicke’s lyrics about how there is no accessory to match his love for a materialistic girl keep it original.
5. ‘Get In My Way’
Another disco affair that makes you want to pull out your John Travolta moves. ‘Get In My Way’ plays out as motivational disco song with a hook of “I’m gonna make it, no matter what you say / I’m flying by you, better stay in your lane…”
6. ‘Give It 2 U’ Feat. Kendrick Lamar
Kendrick Lamar makes his guest appearance on this will.i.am production with bars about his member, where he wants his girl to sit and the one female body part he wants to “pop.” “I wanna feel what a real fat ass like / No injection, I learned my lesson / I walk it like I talk it, baby this pedestrian / Runnin’ through your mind like Jackie Joyner / P—- like pop, go give me a burner,” he rhymes.
7. ‘Feel Good’
The production here is signature will.i.am with syncopated synths and a piano intro that softens the affair to ready you for Robin’s smooth vocals. This is definitely one of the most straightforward tracks off the album.
8. ‘Go Stupid 4 U’
Things slow down a little with this mid-tempo track that opens with a ukulele. The break from the “in your face” dance beats coincides perfectly with the chasteness of the lyrics that are more about looking and not touching.
9. ‘For the Rest of My Life’
It wouldn’t be a Robin Thicke album without a slow jam that fits perfectly as a newly married couples first dance — though the story here is more about young love’s inclination to declare perpetual commitment. The singer recently revealed that the song is about himself and his wife, Paula Patton. The lyrics detail how they met in their younger years, broke up and then got back together to marry.
10. ‘Top of the World’
Robin goes back to his old ways with this track, which features a prominent saxophone. It fits too well with his prior discography to really hold a memorable moment on this new album. Pass.
11. ‘The Good Life’
The album’s closer is a modern-day doo-wop track in which accolades and success in the singer’s life pale in comparison to living the “good life” with someone you love.
Watch Robin Thicke’s ‘Blurred Lines’ Video