Earlier this year, when Justin Timberlake released “Suit and Tie” and teased The 20/20 Experience, many people compared his new direction to blue-eyed-soul star Robin Thicke. So when Thicke released “Blurred Lines,” a song that features a strikingly similar percussion track to “Sexy Back,” things came full circle. The song became an unlikely smash hit, aided by its nudity-filled music video. Musically, the song follows the strange disco revival trend that’s happening in pop music right now (J.T.’s “Treasure,” “Get Lucky,” etc.), but for long-time fans of Thicke, this isn’t too surprising.
The album of the same name contains an assortment of high-gloss dance tracks seemingly made for pop-chart contention. Songs like the jazzy horns of “Top of the World,” the jangly percussion of “Ain’t No Hat 4 That,” and the will.i.am-produced “Feel Good” are nothing like the title track’s undeniable disco-funk groove, and none of them are among Thicke’s best work. They do, however, help convey the album’s prevailing casual, lighthearted feel. Standing out is career highlight “Ooo La La,” a slick and expertly crafted smooth soul throwback featuring some of Thicke’s finest melodies and falsetto lines. And at the back end of the album, after all the partying and seducing, is “4 the Rest of My Life.” This wonderful soul ballad adds a little something for longtime fans who might not be all that receptive to the glitzy synthesizers and pounding bass drums. But for most of the 42 minutes, Thicke seems confused and out of his element. The lack of consistency and memorable melodies, and the obvious pandering to “hip” musical trends leaves this listener not too excited for repeated listens