Robin Thicke’s past year, to state it in the kindest way possible, has been pretty rough. Last Monday during a discussion with his lawyers, he admitted to being “drunk and high” every time he stepped into the recording studio. He also admitted to lying in interviews about his participation in the writing of “Blurred Lines,” the same song that has, reasonably, upheld a poor reputation and has had a lawsuit filed on its “illegal rip-off” of “Got to Give It Up” by Marvin Gaye. His Twitter Q&A “#AskThicke” backfired massively, getting responses such as “Robin Thicke says he wants the Twitter abuse to stop, but we all know ‘stop’ means ‘more’. He taught us that himself. #AskThicke” and “Robin Thicke is getting terrible abuse on the #AskThicke hashtag. Maybe if he’d dressed less provocative & stayed sober it wouldn’t happen?” (Samantha Acampora and Jim Sheridan, you are my heroes).
His wife decided to break it off with him, and he had the audacity to title his most recent album “Paula”. Only selling 158 copies in Australia during the first week, the album somehow climbed its way up to number nine on the Billboard 200. In hesitantly listening to some interviews of Thicke speaking on the subject of both “Blurred Lines” and his ex-wife, it doesn’t surprise me that he has taken the role of the victim.
I have very little sympathy for Thicke, having his “Blurred Lines” as my first impression. At this point, analyzing the song would be shooting a dead horse five times over. However, the recently released information on the production of the song and the state of being that Thicke had been in the studio and throughout the past year brings up new topics and issues that need to be discussed. His constant intoxication not only affected his influence on his hit single, but his relationship with his wife and perception of him by the media. According to the deposition transcript released by his lawyers, Thicke claims that “every day I woke up, I would take a Vicodin to start the day and then I would fill up a water bottle with vodka and drink it before and during my interviews.” A recent CNN article clarifies that if the song had been stolen, Thicke was likely too intoxicated to do so. However, he did state that he wanted to do something similar to Gaye’s hit. Either way, Thicke claimed that Pharrell Williams was the main man behind the operation, and Thicke mainly just parroted Williams’ ideas for the recording. This means that Thicke had screwed Williams over by taking responsibility for a song that was not technically his. With that said, does this say more about Williams or Thicke? For me, there seems to be missing information about the creation and crediting of “Blurred Lines”. Was Williams simply “too good a guy” to call Thicke out? If Thicke had barely any participation in writing the lyrics, then who is fully responsible for them? If Thicke had taken responsibility for “Blurred Lines,” has Williams not gotten enough bad rep for the song?
From what I gathered from the CNN article, Thicke sounded slightly wounded by the fact that his most popular song was not as “personal” as his others, as he did not have as much of an impact on its production. This was his reasoning for lying during interviews, besides the fact that he was highly intoxicated. However, Thicke has already been using his past behaviors as excuses for his actions. Being drunk or high during an interview does not give someone the justification to spew lies on several occasions. Taking head ownership of a song that one did not even write is unprofessional. To inexcusably take part in a song that normalizes and perpetuates sexual assault is appalling. To attempt to take a “better man” stance without apologizing and bettering oneself is childish. Getting sober because your wife left you and titling an album after her seems slightly backwards.
I have an unfortunate feeling that we will be hearing many stories like this from Thicke for the months (or years) to come. In beginning his fame on such a wrong foot, I have very little faith that he will make a comeback from a moral standpoint. Being unable to realize the ultimate severity of one’s actions is hazardous, both in one’s personal life and in one’s work.