Blurred Lines

Robin Thicke sings, writes, produces, plays keyboards and even raps a little on his excellent sixth album, but his greatest talent is projecting bonhomie. Thicke is the handsome son of a TV star, but he never incites resentment, because he always seems to be an amiable Joe who's in on the joke of stardom – the George Clooney of the club jam. In an era when Chris Brown remains a sex symbol for many people, his ability to be casual and gentlemanly while also boasting about the size of his rhymes-with-Thicke is nearly a miracle.

 To sharpen his attack, Thicke brings in an infantry of ride-or-die hitmakers: Will.i.am, Timbaland, Dr. Luke and, on the lewd worldwide smash "Blurred Lines," Pharrell. Each contributes a track, but Thicke never loses control; the album is unified by his relaxed croon and warm merrymaking, which ranges from 1970s Miami funk ("Ain't No Hat 4 That") to cheeky impersonations of dubstep ("Give It 2 U"). There's only one dud, the happy-anniversary ballad "4 the Rest of My Life," which is also the album's most personal song. Thicke dulled previous LPs with expressions of angst – here, he makes a near-perfect summer record by acting like his life is as perfect as his hair. Maybe his package really is as big as he claims.

From The Archives Issue 1188: August 1, 2013
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