31
Oct
08

Robin Thicke – Something Else

Well, we’re coming up on my favorite time of the year again.  I’ll be able to wear jackets soon, I’ll have an extra hour of sleep on Sunday, and soon the airwaves will be free of these incessant political ads.

I hate that fucking shit.

I rarely use my land line at home any more, and I never answer it because anyone who really needs to get a hold of me has my cell phone number.  So I was pretty surprised the other day to check it and find eight messages.  My first reaction was that maybe I had forgotten to pay a bill…or the Elks Lodge autodialer was on the fritz and called me eight times.  Wrong on both counts.

All eight were recorded political messages.  Why anyone thinks these things are effective is beyond me.  I just erased all of them without listening.  And while I don’t hate Robin Thicke and his fucking mind-blowingly awesome new album “Something Else,” I would certainly like to.

I mean, come on…look at him!  He looks like a million douchebags out there.  Pretty boy good looks, rich pimp of a dad, connections up the ass.  It’s almost a shame that he kicks so much ass.

Born in 1977 to actress Gloria Loring and actor Alan Thicke, Robin showed an interest in music from an early age…especially the sound of classic soul music.  It probably didn’t hurt that his father was a well known theme music composer and writer who wrote the theme songs to “Different Strokes,” “The Facts of Life” and a slew of popular game shows. So at 16 he decided to pursue music as a career and was soon to Interscope subsidiary Nu America recordings where he started writing songs for artists such as Mya, Usher and Marc Anthony as well as writing and co-producing his own album under the name Thicke.

The album, 2002’s “A Beautiful World” was released on the strength of it’s ‘Fifth of  Beethove’ sampling single ‘When I Get You Alone.’ But, without a strong second single and minuscule promotion, the album didn’t do very well.

At 28 he had his first Grammy for his work on Usher’s “Confessions.” He signed with The Neptunes Star Trak label and  started work on his sophomore effort “The Evolution of Robin Thicke.”  After building the hype with the first single ‘Wanna Love U Girl,’ released in 2005, the album was released a year later and eventually went platinum.  I love that album a lot, and had considered using it here, until I heard “something Else.”

While I enjoyed Robin’s previous work and his amazing retro sound, “Evolution” seems to be a lot like it’s title…an evolution towards something better.  With “Something Else,” it seems like the evolution is over and Robin Thicke has finally made it to where he was going. Whether he’s channeling Jimi and Curtis on ‘Hard On My Love,’ or Marvin on the smooth ‘Loverman’ Thicke looks back affectionately at the past while blasting into the future.  When my friend Sean played it for me in his car on the way to the Clippers game, I prayed the drive would take long enough for me to absorb the entire album without stopping.

It would be easy to dismiss his work as just a throwback sound-alike if he wasn’t such a great songwriter and producer.  The problem with most new soul and R&B artists is they tend to sound alike.  Reaching back to bygone hits, taking everything that made them great and making it his own…Robin pretty much just kills it here.

It really is that good, and with a range that swings from “getting busy” to “getting down” it’s as versatile as it is awesome.  Gets my vote for R&B album of the year.  No doubt.

I can’t wait to see where he goes next.

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