We’ve all been there, head in hand, post break-up with enough remorse to last two lifetimes. Sometimes you’re the cause, other times you’re the effect, but the truly wise know that there’s always something better on the other side. A defining factor for someone in that situation is their ability to get through it with some class and integrity. Mr. Cool Robin Thicke has none of that, and Paula is proof.
This album is thievery at its worst – from Gil Scott Heron and James Brown to Elvis (yeah, no honor amongst thieves). On nearly every song you can pinpoint a style or motif that his been lifted in one way or another. The lyrics are quirky and the beats catchy, but it demands little investment because of the simple lack of ingenuity. It’s not like what Marvin Gaye was able to do with Here, My Dear, not even close.
If you’re going to hate this album, however, do it for the right reasons. Far too many critics have used the words “creepy” or “pathetic” to describe it, which is strange because the same pen that’s condemning Robin Thicke in one instance is praising guys like Justin Bieber, R. Kelly and Chris Brown in the other. This is just one guy’s attempt to make amends, and critics are finding his public displays of affection queer and out of place.
In fairness it’s hard not to think about those words while listening to the album, but it’s just the wrong adjectives to use. Unoriginal, moth-eaten, impulsive and demonstrative would be better. In fact, what you should do is download the album, burn it on the dustiest CDr you can find, frame it and hang it on your wall for all to see. Why? Because this is what it sounds like when the unabashed one-percenter hears “no” for the first time. Cream rises to the top and in contrast phony copycats will – in one way or another – be exposed for the cultural vagrants they are.
A sultry Latin-infused introduction whose aim is to turn the whole notion of fantasy upside down. It’s sexy and provocative, but what he’s asking for are the small everyday romantic things. The juxtaposition is odd and a little uncomfortable – worthy of the cringe face from the first beat to the last:
The wah-wah guitar is tight and the gentle strumming is slick, but that video is just too much for any normal human being to endure. Simulating a text fight is a surefire way to turn mystery and intrigue into a loose form of privacy invasion. It simply taints what is otherwise a solid pop hit:
An easy lob thrown at his critics, who’ve had an absolute field day slamming him at every turn. It’s crazy and desperate, sure, but thoughtfully written and sung with a lot of heart. The backdrop is passive, meek and lighthearted, but too corny to leave an overall impression. It’s melodrama at its worst:
Lock the door maybe, file a restraining order definitely. He tries to lighten the mood by soaking it in gospel like he had found god in these dark days, but the general public knows the truth – he’s just sorry he got caught. There’s no peaks or valleys, no variation. He hits one note and sticks to it:
Cheating, stealing and swindling – robbing the rhythm to “The Bottle” and using it for his own twisted purpose. He’s revoking his man card and in the worst possibly way, giving his girl a pass to do whatever she wants. It’s a recipe for disaster, the least he could do is leave brother Gil out of it:
First Marvin, then Gil, now James Brown? There’s just no restraint in those greasy little paws. The bite is loud and clear and the lousy scatting is even more transparent than his ripoff of the J.B.’s. If you can get past that trump card you’ll be met with another, which proves just how much a tool he is:
No one can save him, not even the sweet sounds of Motown. He’s making a desperate plea, but it’s delivered in a weird quasi-sensual way, which – no pun intended – blurs the line of his true intent. Trying to be genuine with a giant clown nose on only makes his words seem superficial and glassy:
Fast talker with a forked tongue like the serpent that he is. But rejoice, he stops sobbing long enough to let some good-natured humor slide in. The crunchiness of the beat and quick shot chorus plays to the simplicity angle to which we get a firsthand account of just how big a doofus he really is:
You’re either with him or against him. Regardless it’s still odd to hear his pleas unfold over dance beats – particularly this electronic eye gouge that sounds more like a circuit board malfunction than a beat. He’s wishing he could have done more but is handcuffed – by uninspiring vision mostly:
A song that makes you want to pour sulfuric acid into your ears or jump out a window after setting yourself on fire. It’s a wonder as to what Paula would be thinking after listening to this monstrosity. He’s trying to be playful but in a completely psychotic way like a manifestation of a twisted fun house mirror:
An admission of guilt that comes across as cocky and unapologetic. He’s trying to play it cool in a situation where cool is not the most tactful approach, and in the end the music suffers. The glossy beat is as formulaic as the rest and is about as appetizing as a jar of mayo from the Dollar Store:
With a melody that sounds like it were pulled from an overzealous tampon commercial, Mr. Casanova finds himself the perfect soundtrack to castrate himself to. He thinks beating himself up over a yellow belly beat will win him some pity points, which it surely does but not from the person he wants it from:
The feeling of this song is equal to that of letting out hot air from a giant balloon directly into a microphone. It’s a guy trying to be too cool for school, but with his fly down. No matter what he says or does he can’t get past the cheese. The Vegas Tony Bennett shtick doesn’t help the cause either:
The final teardrops hitting the piano keys in gentle, heartfelt ways. To Robin it means something and likely for Paula too, but for the rest of the world it’s the most melodramatic piece of hogwash to hit the radio waves in years. He’s going all in and delivering one last plea for reconciliation: