American singer-songwriter Robin Thicke has been on the RnB scene for a solid 10 years, which may surprise the large population of people who were only recently introduced to the 36-year-old this summer. And if you are one of the few who hasn't yet been introduced to Thicke, you must not have access to the Internet. His smash-hit of the summer, "Blurred Lines", has been comfortably flowing out of car windows and blasted at bars for months. Powered by "Blurred Lines" and its vibrantly lewd music video (which we highly suggest watching), Thicke brings forth his sixth studio album of the same title, Blurred Lines. The album is somewhat experimental and is Thicke's most sexual, least personal album to date.
While Thicke is certainly no spring chicken, Blurred Lines features more than a few EDM sounding tracks directed more towards a younger audience. For longtime fans of the artist, this may come as a disappointing surprise, and might even be viewed as a sell-out. Thicke justifies his new flavor by simply declaring it as a vow to welcome more fun and youthfulness not only into his music, but into his life as well. In his own words, he explained, "I took myself very seriously as an artist and I wanted to be like Marvin Gaye and John Lennon and Bob Marley and these great artists and songwriters that sang about love and relationships." Tracks like the club-designed "Give It 2 U" are far and away from anything Lennon would have created, but then again he wasn't big into the club scene (or the replacing prepositions with numbers scene). Although the album is sprinkled with pounding electro beats, Thicke also remains true to his new age disco, horn-infused RnB sound.
A dive into more youthful instrumentals would no doubt call for the assistance of some of the club scene's biggest producers. So sure enough, Thicke got the hookup. Beginning with the simplistic and fun-loving "Blurred Lines" beat concocted by the trustworthy and accomplished Pharrell Williams, Thicke keeps the chorus short, sweet, and provocative. This is soon after followed by a raunchy verse from the ever-imprisoned T.I. The "song of the summer", as it has been deemed, provided more than enough of a buzz to get Blurred Lines into the headlights of mainstream pop audiences. Timbaland, who seems to have his fingerprints on everything these days, created the quick, synthy beat for "Take It Easy On Me", the "I know we just met but let's have sex" song that you're likely to get at least once on every RnB album. will.i.am of Black Eyed Peas fame brought his talents forth in the production of both "Feel Good" and "Go Stupid 4 U". "Feel Good" is far more of an EDM/house track than anything else a Robin Thicke fan would have encountered previously in his catalogue. And immediately after, will.i.am brings out the ukulele for the "Go Stupid For U", only to quickly bring back the synth midway through the song. The lyrics "Girl I wrote a song about you / Designed a little part that reminds me of your ass" suggest that Thicke has no desire to mature in his songwriting and is quite alright with having boy-bandish song themes and rhymes.
Blurred Lines can most definitely be seen as Robin Thicke's ploy to finally break into the mainstream, and it worked to some extent. While we may not remember any of the non-"Blurred Lines" songs a few years down the road, his funky and sexual lead-single, coupled with the nearly legendary music video, was a surefire way to make his presence felt (and get out of the shadow of that damn Timberlake guy). The overly sexual and up-front lyrics eventually become predictable and suggest that while Thicke made this album to be "fun", that word can be reached with a bouncy beat and smooth vocals. Wordplay and wittiness were most likely de-prioritized. Thicke plays the playboy character quite nicely, but he should probably start working on a new way to seduce his fans. So long as he recurrently mentions his penis, he won't need to worry about Gaye or Lennon or Marley.