Robin Thicke released his seventh studio album, Paula, on July 1st. The album is named after his estranged wife, Paula Patton and is meant to be an album dedicated to “winning her back.” Many gossip columns speculate on the reason for their breakup; however, no one but them really knows for sure. Regardless, Thicke had this to say to Ryan Seacrest about the album:
“I came right off a tour and I had all these songs and all these ideas and feelings in my heart. And I went right into the studio. I wrote all the songs in about three weeks and we recorded the album in about a month. Obviously all the songs were about her or about how I feel about her. A lot of songwriters have done this kind of thing before. They won’t tell you in the title or they’ll be suggestive … I was just like, ‘There’s no reason to hide who this is about.’ It’s all about her.”
“She’s not just my wife, she’s been my very best friend for 20 years. I lost two people. That’s a lot to talk about.”
Paula consists of 14 songs on the regular edition, all produced and written by Thicke. Vocally, it’s not Thicke’s best performance. I’ve heard him sing much better on albums like The Evolution of Robin Thicke and Something Else. However, the album does not lack passion. Songs like “Forever Love” and “Black Tar Cloud” really got the message across that homeboy is hurting haha. Musically, the album isn’t bad. He didn’t really create outside the box, production-wise, but many of the songs had that smooth, sensual Thicke sound. On many of the songs, Thicke had a chorus of women backing him up vocally. I really enjoyed them on “Lock the Door” as I think they did a great job of complementing his voice. However, my girlfriend commented that “some of the songs sound like they were made to be shoved into an episode of Glee” and I can’t help but think that the chorus contributed to that.
Stylistically, the album wasn’t very cohesive, but when it was good, it was GOOD. On songs like “Love Can Grow Back” and “Black Tar Cloud,” Thicke incorporated a sound that was pleasantly similar to Ray Charles. I think it fit perfectly with the theme and overall sound of the album. However, there were some corny songs. “Something Bad” and “Tippy Toes” were a little hard to listen to. The style was just so different from what I expected from the album and what I had been given up until that point.
Conceptually, the album actually sounded more like a “Year In Review” of their relationship, and not just Thicke pleading his case/trying to get her back. Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely some “I’m at the edge of a cliff; don’t let me go” moments but it seemed there should be more and some of the album just seems to feature more reflection by Thicke than a solid direction.
All in all, I think the album is decent. It’s not his best, but it’s not horrible either. It’s a nice gesture and if it was only the first step in some big “Get Paula Back” plan, I think it’s a great one, but I wouldn’t rest all my hopes on this one album. But who knows; I know nothing of their past relationship. Maybe a grand gesture like this is all Paula needs. I guess we will see in time.
Album Grade: 3.5 out of 5
Best Songs: "Forever Love," "Love Can Grow Back," "Get Her Back," "Lock the Door"