Album Review: Robin Thicke, ‘Paula’


Perhaps the most prominent example of a celebrity downfall over the last year is R&B singer Robin Thicke. Before 2013, he was only known in the public eye for being a soul singer and of course, Alan Thicke’s son. Now, he’s known for the ever so rapey “Blurred Lines” and a slew of indiscretions that inevitably caused his separation (and possible divorce) from actress Paula Patton. In the span of a year, Thicke went from respected soul singer to a rape apologist to a creepy, estranged husband stalking his estranged wife.

It’s an extremely messy situation, but what makes it worse is Paula, Thicke’s latest attempt to win Patton back. The album, which was released to the public on July 1, is comprised of 14 love songs about the split. If the demise was not the result of a highly-criticized Top 40 single that alludes to rape and a handful of poor decisions, the listener would probably feel a little sympathy for Thicke.

But instead, it’s creepy, cheesy, and all around pathetic from the moment “You’re My Fantasy” begins to the final piano chords of “Forever Love.” If you thought the words to “Get Her Back” were eye-rolling, Thicke practically begs Patton to come home to him with the same cliche lines in almost every single song. It comes off as remorseless and disingenuous, which isn’t surprising given the fact that all of Thicke’s previous endeavors involved showering Patton with gifts.

Perhaps the most uncomfortable of them all is “Still Madly Crazy,” another piano number where Thicke pleads Patton for forgiveness. This one was the most uncomfortable as Thicke uses lines like “I’m so sorry you had to suffer my lack of self-control. You think by now I might’ve grown.” It’s hard not to cringe after hearing that, especially since it’s obvious what exactly Thicke is referring to.

In second place for the most awkward is “Living in New York City,” the only track that doesn’t involve apologizing to Patton. In fact, what’s even weirder is that this is Thicke’s only attempt to save face. Throughout the atrocious three minutes, he loudly belts that he is living in New York City and how it’s so great because he can find somebody better in the Big Apple. Given that he’s currently the biggest pig in America, this is really just a song about his wishful thinking.

If “Blurred Lines” and all of the associated drama that unfurled never happened, I think Paula would have been really well-recepted. The fact that Thicke stepped away from Top 40 pop and went back to his R&B/soul roots would have been commended and in some cases, praised. But because his downward spiral of his career and relationship is so fresh in many listeners minds, it’s going to be hard for pretty much anyone to give him or this album a chance. Maybe if he took a page from Patton and dealt with his feelings in private, she and the rest of the world would be more convinced of his sincerity.

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As the Managing Editor, Lauren Stern is responsible for curating’s content. This includes managing the editorial staff, coordinating the content calendar, and assigning publishing dates and deadlines. She graduated Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism and Philosophy. She spends her free time searching for the best gluten-free food in the Tri-State area, playing with her dogs, and reading an insane amount of books. She tweets constantly about pop culture and social issues and hopes you follow her musings @laurenpstern.