Robin Thicke's 'Blurred Lines': What the Critics Are Saying
Robin Thicke is best know for his R&B prowess, but with his latest album, Blurred Lines, Thicke is venturing into unfamiliar territory.
Before the album's July 30 release, the title track and its accompanying music video featuring a bevy of topless women wearing flesh-colored thongs, had garnered criticism for its allegedly "rapey" lyrics and misogynistic undertones.
In spite of these accusations -- and perhaps partly thanks to them -- the track reached the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 on June 12 and has not dropped since. This is the "Lost Without U" singer's first chart topper, with the title track from his 2011 album Love After War only peaking at No. 74 on the same chart.
Read what the industry's top critics have to say about Blurred Lines below.
In his track-by-track review, Chris Payne of Billboard.com seemed to be impressed by the R&B singer's foray into the world of pop music.
Payne called "Ain't No Hate 4 That" an "absolute winner," adding, "Thicke lightens up and channels '70s dance floor indulgences without sounding like he's trying too hard."
The critic did go on to condemn the album for it's lack of continuity, noting that the final three ballads -- "The Good Life," "Top of the World" and "4 the Rest of My Life" -- featured the cohesion that was absent from the rest of the album.
The Chicago Tribune's music critic, Greg Kot, was unimpressed with the raunchy vocals featured on Blurred Lines, writing, "Explicitness has increasingly become the language of pop, but even by these relaxed standards, Thicke scrapes bottom with his single-entendre come-ons. These might be tolerable if they evinced at least a teensy bit of cleverness or humor, but no such luck."
Randall Roberts of the Los Angeles Times reiterates Kot's critical sentiments, giving the album only two stars.
Roberts writes, "'Go Stupid 4 U' rises to the level of its title with lyrics as dumb as a faded glow stick -- unless you're a 12-year-old girl. And the words to 'Get in My Way,' a self-help ode to persistence, border on parody when the well-heeled son of TV actor Alan Thicke sings with a twang of ghetto swagness about being 'set free, out of jail.'"
Jim Farber of the New York Daily News had kinder words for the album, awarding Blurred Lines four out of five stars and praising Thicke's divergence form his heavy-handed R&B roots.
"It’s a nonstop fast and sexy disc, correcting virtually all of Thicke's past sins to position him just where it should -- as a light-hearted scamp. To accomplish this, Thicke's new album takes far more from pop melody than earlier releases, rendering his prior, bass-driven R&B focus secondary," writes Farber.
USA Today's Brian Mansfield writes that the single "Blurred Lines," with its fun, sleazy and sometimes laughable lyrics, are indicative of the entire album.
Mansfield gave Blurred Lines three out of four stars, noting, "From electro-thumper 'Give It 2 U' to falsetto ballad '4 the Rest of My Life,' Thicke exudes the kind of plain-spoken and occasionally creepy sexiness that marked Prince's early records."