Blurred Lines (Universal)
While currently standing as one of the year’s biggest singles, Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” also has the distinction of being one of its most controversial. First, alarms were sounded over the minimalist party track’s tone, where the R&B singer tries to coax the animal out of a good girl with a much-too-determined “I know you want it.” Then there’s the NSFW video which has topless women clowning around with fully clothed cheeseballs Thicke, Pharrell Williams, and T.I., inspiring myriad think pieces calling the solo artist a misogynist.
No matter what side you land on, all the attention has pushed the tune to the top of the charts. What we’re neglecting in the midst of the scandal, however, is how borderline awful the single actually is. Not so much effortless as it is undercooked, the cyclical merry-go-round organ melody and accompanying backwater vocal harmonies come across like a studio piss take. Also, can we consider the laziness of the following couplet: “You wanna hug me?/What rhymes with hug me?”
So how does the rest of the album, also titled Blurred Lines, fare? “Ooo La La” finds Thicke hitting big with an early MJ falsetto, while the plush arrangement has shimmering chimes enveloping slap-happy bass lines. The album gets greedy, though, by limply jamming in another Off the Wall approximation— “Get in My Way”—right after it.
Thicke plays the lusty Lothario again atop the pervy swerve of “Give It 2 U”, with the “it” he’s offering being his “big dick”, but manages to work in a few tender moments on the LP. “4 the Rest of My Life”, for instance, is a convincingly sensual slow jam that details the ups and downs of a long-lasting relationship. That said, the schmaltzy optimism of “The Good Life” brings the record to its nadir.
No doubt, “Blurred Lines” is Thicke’s biggest hit to date, but the up-and-down pacing of the rest of the disc calls to question whether he’ll outlive the hype.