I made the mistake of reading a review of this album from a magazine that I thought I could trust (no names), and they mentioned about Robin Thicke that he pretty much had no relevance and was doing his point to try to fit in – not to mention that he had “no soul” in his style. Sorry, but that confused and irritated me, because as someone who reviews music, I’d assume (since I’m playing the Common Sense card) that you’d have to be exposed to more genres than Top 40 and what’s popular. That’s fair isn’t it? Another source said that Thicke’s album is “the album that Justin Timberlake is too famous to make.” I mean, what does that even mean? Not only are they different artists, but Robin Thicke has been doing R&B since I was a kid, and he’s had nothing but suave and sophistication with his music. Yes, he might appeal to an older group of listeners, but I’m figuring that that’s the whole point. The publicity of this album was fueled by a smash summer single, but aside from that, I didn’t hear much about it being released until it leaked a couple of weeks prior to the actual release. What you can expect from Robin Thicke is a sex appeal with a bounce that’s reminiscent of older R&B, but with R&B artists exploring the EDM & Techno phase (I still blame Usher), then I could anticipate that I’d hear some of that as well. It’s one musical mystery waiting to be explored.
The title track, Blurred Lines, is the reason why we’re here in the first place. It’s the song of the summer, and until Drake’s album comes out with about 7 possible singles, this is the biggest song of the year to this point (I mean, it was about time someone knocked off Thrift Shop off the reign of Billboard Chart ruling). Pharrell can’t lose: Despicable Me 2, this song, and Get Lucky (from Random Access Memories by Daft Punk) are all hits, plus he’s had features on big albums going back to good kid, m.A.A.d city last year; Jay Z & Tyler, The Creator’s albums this year. Let’s not forget the fact that he never ages because he’s either: an Android or a Vampire – that’s still being debated. The two-stepper also features T.I who is on his 134th road to redemption after about 235 stints in jail (maybe I’m off by a few). It’s hard to not enjoy this song unless you listen to the local radio and you hear it 10 times during the day – then I understand. Let’s be honest though, the “Hey Hey Hey” is addictive to the point of poisonous hypnosis; you just can’t get it out of your head, and I think when you blend in all of those elements and then add in the spicy video that came with it, it’s a great song all throughout (and not to mention that Marvin Gaye’s ‘Got To Give It Up’ sample is the fundamental sample to get the party going).
See, remember when I was talking about that EDM/Techno sound? It didn’t take long for its ugly head to the surface on Take It Easy On Me. It’s like Blurred Lines trolled everyone to thinking that it was going to be a regular R&B album. It’s a couple of synthesizers away from being a song on Justified, so I’ll give him that, and I can only imagine that in a club setting it would be crazy. But on the flipside, the polar opposite came through my speakers when Ooh La La started playing, and it flashed nostalgia of that early 80s R&B, and it’s sort of like how Quadron displayed most of the songs on their album Avalanche (I strongly recommend you listen to that album if my word means anything to you). The declaration of love is evident (remember, he’s married to the beautiful Paula Patton), and it’s a feel good song that would greatly serve as a 3rd single if he so happens to do that. I like this song a lot because it makes me want to put on my church socks and slide around hardwood floors while doing a two step to testify my sins to the church.
Ain’t No Hat 4 That gives me hope that the album will continue to sound the way I wanted it to in the first place when Blurred Lines was played. The emphasis of this whole album plays on two themes: Sex & Love. There’s no other grandiose explanation that follows suit, because that’s what R&B music is founded upon and what has made it thrive (not so much now, but in the past when it mattered most). Get In My Way gave me the same feeling because it’s almost as if Robin went to The Gap Band’s or EWF’s catalogue and rummaged through some sounds to get the soul out. The sound of these songs make me wonder if when I’m 60+ years old that I’ll put on this song and tell my grandchildren “Youngins, you don’t know nothing ‘bout this right here. This is grown folk’s music.” I felt the same way when I heard Miguel’s Adorn. A friend of mine made a good point to the fact that this is an album that is supposed to appeal more so to an older crowd but still get a young audience involved – I mean, when you’ve been in the game for so long, it makes sense to reinvent at times…at times. This song is motivating, because you get that feeling sometimes when everything is just going your way and no one can bring you out of your zone. You’re in your own lane, and no one’s allowed in it. This is the type of song you walk down the street in an open collared shirt with dress pants and gator shoes because you just don’t have a care in the world. Feel good music, as it should be.
Funny story about this song; I was in Buffalo with a bunch of friends and we were in a store as I was eye gazing at the local American women checking themselves out in the mirror as they looked at their new outfits (totally not creepy), and I heard this song come on. I thought to myself “just another pop song” until I heard Kendrick Lamar on it, and that’s when I went from dismissive to confusion. What’s Kendrick Lamar doing on a pop song? Little did I know that it was Give It 2 U that I heard that day – and listening to the explicit version when I played the album, it’s incredibly direct to the point where I was just laughing.
I’ve got a gift for you (a little Thicke for you)
A big kiss for you (I’ve got a hit for you)
Big dick for you (let me give it to you)
Damn Robin, that’s how you feel? I listen to Hip Hop a lot, so I’m used to the direct blunt approaches to women (look up The Whisper Song by The Ying Yang Twins or any Uncle Luke song), but I found this surprising for some reason. I don’t like the song, because I’m tired of Pop – it just doesn’t help the fact that one of my favourite rappers was on this song, although he added…okay, I’m not even going to try to make up for the trash that it was, because I know that he delivers on features, but not even his feature could save this.
Keeping with the Pop (I find that balance is needed here) Feel Good picks up where Give It 2 U left off, but it didn’t bug me as much, although I’m not here for it completely. The Hook is definitely what I enjoyed, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to listen to it on my own terms. For The Rest of My Life is the only song that I would draw a comparison to Justin Timberlake, because for a second I thought it was JT in the first place, but it was a more modern R&B sound, and it’s a beautiful song from start to finish. Justin’s That Girl is what I would say that it sounds like, but there’s definitely more soul to it, as it’s the story of how him and his gorgeous wife met (I don’t think I emphasized that enough). It’s arguably the best song on this album, and a great choice for his 2nd single, because this is a song that I can envision they would play at 8th grade dances or Senior proms for slow dances (hey DJs, I just gave you an idea, and couples I just gave you a future wedding song – you’re welcome).
Top of the World takes the story of a girl who can relate to many little girls today: bullied, teased, wasn’t that attractive; and then grow up to be a success although finding love is one of the hardest things because she doesn’t know exactly how to love.
And now she wants to find love if she can
Somebody who can hold umbrellas in the rain
But she’s a little hardcore with the pros
It could be goodbye, goodbye
Before it’s hello, hello
After working herself to death and getting big, what’s success when you have no one to share it with? It’s funny because I have a friend who I can pinpoint this song to on her road to whatever success she may be on, but having someone to be with isn’t in her scope, and that’s where balance sets in. Yes, you can be successful and all of that, but at what point do you say that your success comforts you at night when you’re sad or when you get lonely? Those awards and diplomas aren’t going to hold you at night, boo. But then again, I can’t judge because there are women who like the independence. I like this song a lot, sort of like how I like Brandy’s ‘Top of the World’ if I shall take it back a decade or so (15 years to be exact).
Now she well paid, first class, top grade
Go to sleep by herself, only with the front page
Dreamin’ of the one thing she ain’t got yet
That’s somebody to hold when the sun sets
She starts taking them pills just to feel good
It’s hard enough to be what she once was, keep it real
But she remembers how tough it was to get here
She can’t be so hard on herself yeah
You need a good time baby girl let it go
The Good Life is the final song of this album (I’m surprised as to how short it is), and it brings together the whole theme of love, and his current state of being – he’s happy, and when you have Paula Patton as a wife (wife), I mean, you can say that you have a good life at that point. Despite the fact the celebrity wise, he may not be appealing to the younger generation, that doesn’t mean that he’s still not an artist that many still support (I mean, Lost Without You is still one of the best R&B songs I’ve personally ever heard).
In my old town
There is no street with my name
No crown, I am no king
And the kids they do not know my name
Its like nothing has changed
All of those things don’t faze Thicke, and that’s the important thing that he emphasizes here. Although he may have got advice from his parents on how to live his life and just what to do, he’s found his success by his own means to which he proclaims that he has a good life, and that’s pretty much what everyone aspires to have one day.
My overall take on this album is that it’s something that can be a bit of a clash of mixed feelings. On one hand, there’s the traditional R&B that was brought out, and the feel of it is older, but there were different R&B aspects to it that could stretch the age gaps and bring them as one. What I didn’t like was the Techno stuff. I say that because, if you’re an R&B artist, make an R&B album, and keep it R&B. We’re in an era where R&B barely exists anymore because so many of the artists who used it as their staple jumped ship and saw the money that Top 40 hits could bring them. This is definitely a summery album, but there are songs on it that can hit home for people personally rather than seasonally. Holding up to the other ‘R&B’ albums in comparison (Frank Ocean, Miguel, and Justin Timberlake), it doesn’t add up, but Robin shows that he can still bring his own flare and make it work for him in a newer setting. It’s pretty good, and worth a listen or two, because it’s still quite enjoyable. But for now, this is my opinion, this is my review
That’s My Word & It STiXX