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Saturday, August 3, 2013

'Blurred Lines' Makes Robin Thicke White Soul's Leader

This song was too hot for most everybody when the video was first released.

But NYT's down with it, "Yesterday’s Style, Today’s Hits":

We first met Robin Thicke about a decade ago, zipping through the streets of Manhattan on a bicycle in his debut video, Jesus mane flowing behind him, then doing some sub-“Saturday Night Fever” moves in a freight elevator. The song was “When I Get You Alone,” and it sampled Walter Murphy’s “Fifth of Beethoven,” the 1976 disco-classical fusion, a hybrid of flash and seriousness that Mr. Thicke appeared perfectly comfortable with, even if few others were: wildly out of step with the sound of the time, his single never hit the American charts.

Jump forward to “Blurred Lines,” the song that has topped the Billboard Hot 100 for eight weeks now, and that has elevated Mr. Thicke from white-soul curio to pop certainty. There he is in the crisp video, chipper and smug, in a beautifully cut suit, frolicking with barely clothed models (in the version where they’re wearing clothes at all, that is). He has the look of a man finally coming into the privilege he was sure was his all along.

But don’t let the video’s modernism fool you: white-soul conservatism is the order of the day, and this hit is just as nostalgic as Mr. Thicke’s first single was, under a much cooler cover. “Blurred Lines” is influenced heavily by Marvin Gaye’s “Got to Give It Up,” and even with the producer Pharrell Williams’s clean, large drums and a sizzling, naughty guest rap by T.I., Mr. Thicke can’t help himself — he loves yesterday way more than today. That’s also clear from the bulk of his new album, also called “Blurred Lines” (Star Trak/Interscope), on which his hit is one of several songs that sound helicoptered in from three or four decades ago. Mr. Thicke may be the sound of now, but he’s only passing for contemporary.

With its full-band soul arrangements that hark back to disco and before, “Blurred Lines” is a loud reminder of the fundamental conservatism of white soul. Nostalgia is a frequent hallmark of white participation in black genres, a way of signaling respect and knowledge without presuming to reshape the art form’s present. It’s a safe space, guaranteeing an audience of nostalgists and that-white-boy-can-sing true-schoolers.
Hey, if it's conservative I can dig.

Plus, those hot nude wenches at the "unrated" version are to die for, mf.

More at the link.

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