It’s safe to say that the Justin Timberlakes of this world have it pretty good right now, which gives Robin Thicke all the more reason to release an album.
The son of TV personality Alan Thicke (Dr. Seaver on “Growing Pains”) has lived a life of extreme hardships – that’s why he’s making an album about being down.
It has all the advice you need on love and “Cocaine.”
Don’t get the impression that this album is headed for the bargain bin. It does have some standouts.
The main undercurrent here is that everything is understated, and “The Evolution of Robin Thicke” is hard to listen to for the same reason.
Thicke only knows two speeds: moderate R&B and hip-pop.
At times, his crooning comes off as abrasive, but the understated energy of his music still has the potential to pull through.
Tracks like “Got 2 Be Down” featuring Faith Evans work well because Thicke is only complimenting.
Like Thicke, the guitar in this track simply compliments the lead, yet it’s enough to fill the gaps perfectly.
One problem is that Thicke sounds like everyone else, barely pulling off anything
From Justin Timberlake on “Would That Make U Love” and D’Angelo on “Ask Myself” to a pretty lame Al Green-esque intro on “I Need Love,” his voice just doesn’t resonate as anything particularly distinctive in his own right.
Most of the high points of this album lay in the second half, starting with “Can U Believe” through the one minute outro of the song.
Just after the completely unnecessary plug of “Shooter,” – the exact same song that was on his debut album, save a few bars for Lil’ Wayne – is “Cocaine.”
“Cocaine” is the shot of fresh air that this album needed, despite its predictable topic -women are as addictive as cocaine.
The beat and guitar sample on “Cocaine” are the kind of creativeness that Cee-Lo would sneeze out, and that is a compliment.
The song, “2 the Sky” is good and bad in itself.
It’s as if Thicke realized that he made a song that starts to drag on, so he threw in a fit of loud guitar chords and from that point forward, decided to make it incredible.
Thicke hasn’t yet found his balance between something everyone can enjoy, R&B and pop, but his effort is worth a taste in recommended and limited doses.
Chris Zakorchemny can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.