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Album Review

Robin Thicke – Paula

It’s been almost a year since Robin Thicke released his most successful, self-titled album to date, which notably scored him countless radio airplay, Grammy nominations, and multiple Billboard Music Awards. Now, he’s back at it, eying up the top of the charts by following up last year’s summer hit “Blurred Lines” and “Give It 2 U” with an album so entirely consumed by heartache over his estrangement with actress wife Paula Patton that he went along and titled the whole project Paula. Whether you believe the album is a heartfelt plea to win her back or another marketing scheme to garner interest, one thing is for sure, Paula is a misguided collection of remorse and humility that certainly misses the mark in almost every way possible.

If this is indeed a charade, Thicke is  pulling out all of the stops to keep it alive including: a very public acknowledgement of his antics to win his estranged wife back, a performance of his lead single “Get Her Back” on the finale of NBC’s knockout The Voice, and another high-profile apology to Paula Patton on the BET Awards this past Sunday night. All this public attention would seem to make Paula another breakout success for Thicke, that is, if the music was any good. It starts off with the first single “Get Her Back,” a laid back choice that is a world away from his previous album’s soundscape due to its instrumentation and overall lack of noise. Although the electric guitar melody hums along quite pleasantly, it is boring beyond belief and sounds like he quickly penned a love poem to his wife and decided to record it out of the blue.

After last years “Blurred Lines” video we all know Thicke is no stranger to controversy, however, his music video for “Get Her Back” took it to a eerie and straight up weird new level as it featured text messages soaring across the screen and Thicke with a bloodied up face. Some examples of the messages were: “I hate myself.” “You embarrassed me.” “I wrote a whole album about you.” “I don’t care.” The video leaves viewers with a sense of ambiguity as we don’t know how his face is exactly bloody, but nonetheless, if Thicke was remotely trying to win his wife back, he’s going about it all the wrong way by publicizing everything instead of making a private reconciliation. Sunday night at the BET Awards, Thicke continued his public apology  by sitting at a piano and opening his set by saying “I’d like to dedicate this song to my wife and say I miss you and I’m sorry.” After that, he performed his new single “Forever Love,” a piano ballad that showcases the R&B crooner’s vocals, but forces listeners to hear yet another dismal, regret-filled song about Thicke’s marriage.

Wallowing in emotions can quite possibly be the explanation for several chart-toppers, but that won’t be the case for “Love Can Grow Back” or “Lock the Door.” Both of these songs prove to be ample examples of what an aspiring musician wants to avoid in order to not be an anticlimactic and borderline melodramatic singer immersed in clearly unreciprocated emotions. The only thing remotely eye-catching about “Love Can Grow Back” is its possible acknowledgement of the Miley Cyrus twerking incident back at last years MTV Video Music Awards when Thicke sings, “Oh, you’re way too young to dance like that in front of a man like me, babe.”

It’s not all bad for Paula as tracks “Still Madly Deep” and “Forever Love” show the raw emotion Thicke can vocally deliver since the rasp in his voice sounds authentically battered by the separation with his wife. Other than that, this album is pure waste in every respect. The songs as a whole are watered-down, empty casings that are missing that extra element to make them somewhat memorable and even though it’s hard to distinguish the sincerity in the albums intent to get Thicke’s wife back it just appears gimmicky.

Grade: D

Written by Travis Kowalski

Written by Travis Kowalski