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Robin Thicke - Blurred Lines (Review)

Robin Thicke, Blurred Lines

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 2.5 out of 5

IT’S impossible to write about Robin Thicke’s new album without at least acknowledging the furore surrounding his smash hit single and title track Blurred Lines, which has been described by some as both misogynistic and “rapey”.

Yes, lines like “I know you want it” are sexually provocative but they’re hardly ground-breaking or earth-shattering in the current R’n‘B or hip-hop climate. And it’s not just the men that sing of sexual prowess and appeal. So, why the fuss?

The big question is whether the music stacks up to a good listen? And, in part, Blurred Lines marks Thicke’s most appealing collection of songs yet. But lyrically, it leaves a lot to be desired too. The singer doesn’t help himself and the debate surrounding him when dishing out lines like “got a little Thicke for you, big dick for you” a little later on Give It 2 U, or asking over and over “does it feel good” on the aptly named Feel Good (which also asks, “if I ran out of money, would you pay for me”?).

Shoddy lyricisim aside, Thicke seems to have learnt how to deliver a track capable of bringing him success beyond America. Hence, that title track and album opener Blurred Lines is a real party-starter, with cute hooks, brilliant percussion arrangements, a feel-good vibe and vocal contributions from both TI and Pharrell. It could almost be a Justin Timberlake production, or Prince. But you can’t help but nod your head along in giddy apprecation. It’s a proper summer crowd-pleaser.

Later on, that same slick delivery is evident on the vibrant Top Of The World, which again has that fresh summertime celebratory feel to it, while closing song The Good Life is another sparkler, built around Motown-esque vocals, spritely piano chords and rousing string and beat arrangements, complete with lyrics like “life takes you up and down and life spins you all around… the good life, I know I made it with you”.

Had the remainder of the album hit those heights, we might have been waxing lyrical about a Thicke classic. Alas, other moments struggle to rise above the norm for the smooth groove R’n‘B thing.

Take It Easy On Me has plenty of energy but is the kind of song that maybe wouldn’t sound out of place on a Beyonce record, Ooo La La seems to be borrowing from the current Daft Punk prototype, and Get In My Way is disco soul reminiscent of the Jackson/Off The Wall era with a little Ricky Martin thrown in vocally during the chorus.

Hence, for all his efforts to sound fresh and exciting (and provocative), there are a lot of times when Thicke seems to be struggling with his own identity too and also his age (referring back to some of the more juvenile lyrics). And an album that arrived with a lot of promise off the back of his No.1 smash only really works in fits and starts.

Download picks: Blurred Lines, The Good Life, Top Of The World

Track listing:

  1. Blurred Lines – Robin Thicke, T.I., Pharrell
  2. Take It Easy On Me
  3. Ooo La La
  4. Ain’t No Hat 4 That
  5. Get In My Way
  6. Give It 2 U – Robin Thicke, Kendrick Lamar
  7. Feel Good
  8. 4 The Rest Of My Life
  9. Top Of The World
  10. The Good Life