Robin Thicke almost had a full-scale UK breakthrough back in 2007 when his single Lost Without U peaked at number 11 in the singles chart. The track helped parent album The Evolution of Robin Thicke to climb to number 30 but since then he’s not had much success in the UK. In the US he’s experienced much more success scoring several singles on the Billboard Hot 100 but his album sales have been variable. That’s all set to change now he’s had a global smash in the shape of Blurred Lines which has topped charts in the US, UK, Australia and various countries in Europe. He’s just released the album of the same name and it looks like it’s going to be his most successful to date.
Blurred Lines reinvents Thicke’s sound taking him mostly away from the soulful mid-tempo numbers that dominated his previous albums. Whilst we’ve always been big fans of Thicke across his career to date, his style is one that didn’t resonate with music fans in the UK. For Blurred Lines he’s moved into a poppier more commercial sound whilst retaining his own identity. The title track, featuring T.I. and Pharrell Williams, is a good indication as to the sound of the album and sees Thicke having fun with a funky contemporary beat that recalls old-school artists such as Marvin Gaye.
The majority of Blurred Lines has been produced by Thicke along with Projay but the star has worked with a handful of other producers. The Timbaland-produced Take It Easy On Me features subtle horns pulsating through a hard beat that transforms Thicke into an electro-pop star taking him straight to the dancefloor. Dr Luke and Cirkut produce new single Give It 2 U which features Kendrick Lamar and is a saucy, sex-drenched electro number that should be as big a hit as Blurred Lines. Thicke teams up with will.i.am on album highlight Feel Good which utilises his falsetto over a piano riff before exploding into a pumping Balearic dance anthem.
Elsewhere on the record Thicke gives a nod to his traditional sound on the soulful slow-jam 4 The Rest of my Life which is a rare tempo change on this otherwise uptempo record, Ooo La La takes it back to the 70s with funky guitar riffs and a whispery vocal, and Get In My Way demands you crank up your speakers and dance your socks off. Our favourite moment comes on the infectious Ain’t No Hat 4 That which simply has to be the album’s third single. It’s perfect for this current heatwave and we can imagine sipping martinis by the pool whilst this is blasting from the speakers.
The album draws to a close with the double whammy of Top of the World and The Good Life. The former sees Thicke rap/singing seemingly talking about his recent success with the lyric, ‘you never gave up, now you’re singing that song all summer’, and the latter sees him reflecting on his career and life over a mid-tempo beat.
Blurred Lines is a different proposition from Robin Thicke. In sound it’s very different to his previous albums but you can still tell it’s him thanks to his distinctive and soulful voice. Much comparison has been made between Thicke and Justin Timberlake in terms of sound but we’d like to point out that Thicke was doing this kind of music first. Blurred Lines is a confident, bold and charismatic collection of songs that should finally see Thicke reaping the rewards for his years of hard-work. We’ve been telling you for years that he’s going to be huge haven’t we?