Robin Thicke: Love After War
No question, singer/songwriter Robin Thicke draws more from the classic rhythm and blues sound of the 70’s than most artists, where the sexy yet activist grooves of Marvin Gaye made hearts melt and people wake up. Some have been quick to attach this modernized approach by Thicke as “blue eyed soul,” a label Thicke has stated is quite offensive to him, as he should. Love After War, his fifth album, runs out of the gate with the high velocity Rocky-esque victory chant of a soul singer hard at work.
Straining yet stealth vocals and brassy horns decorate “An Angel on Each Arm.” “I Am an Animal” follows with still a vintage yet upbeat 70’s R&B splendor. What is strikingly different on Love After War is that it pushes farther than any of Thicke’s previously well-received albums. The smashing successes of his second album, The Evolution of Robin Thicke, and his third, Something Else, both artistically and delicately showed Thicke as a sexified playful melancholic romantic love poet pampered by feminine wile. The slick instrumentation and unforgettable songwriting propelled him to sweet success. Love After War is more about assertion and establishment and becomes even more political at times. The sexuality is still there and welcomingly strong.
Lil Wayne returns as a cameo and adds to the prowling sexiness of “Pretty Lil’ Heart.” Thicke does get down with struggle and revolution, like on the nice vibe of “The New Generation” that moves with a neo soul groove and on “Never Give Up.” For those feening for the warm romantic side of Thicke, tracks such as “Dangerous,” “I Don’t Know How It Feels To Be U,” and “Boring” are throwbacks to that vibe. Love After War is adding another dimension to this artist’s engaging sonic tapestry.