Robin Thicke is currently burning up the charts with “Blurred Lines,” a leading contender for Song of the Summer. The guy totally exudes cool, but not in a threatening or douchey way, despite the explicit sexual nature of that song’s video. Suave, you might even say. But that wasn’t always the case. Some of you may remember when Robin looked less like a guy who could slip into any posh nightclub and more like a holdout from the Seattle grunge era (see above). It’s true! In 2002, he dropped his debut single, “When I Get You Alone,” under the name Thicke, back when he was rocking long hair and a goatee and writing songs for the likes of Christina Aguilera and Brandy.
So head below to travel back to a simpler time, when Robin Thicke was scruffy and playing a scrappy, happy bike messenger for his first music video. (Also, see if you can spot the Russell Simmons cameo.)
Thicke — “When I Get You Alone” (2002)
The song was catchy, yes, but it was also a little nerdy thanks to its reliance on Walter Murphy‘s dorky disco hit “A Fifth Of Beethoven.” Much has changed for the singer in the 11 years since he dropped this early aughts artifact. Among other things, Robin has married a beautiful actress, landed a No. 1 single and built up enough capital to attract top hip-hop guest spots. But when you revisit this song, you’ll realize that much has stayed the same. For instance, he already exhibited plenty of confidence and sexual swagger (“Baby girl, you the shit / That makes you my equivalent / You can keep your toys in the drawer tonight”), and demonstrated a taste for topless women in his videos.
I distinctly remember adding this song to my beer pong playlist my freshman year of college after downloading it from LimeWire. Anyone who remembers the clunky P2P program knows this was not a user-friendly experience, meaning I must’ve really wanted the song. But I’m not even sure how I came across it. Radio and MTV were almost nonentities in terms of music discovery for college students at that point. Not that this song was getting much play on either — it failed to chart in the US, although it was successful overseas.
I think maybe I saw it on the back of a cereal box? (Back in the day, cereal boxes would have mail-in offers for various CDs and singles, if you’ll recall. I never actually ordered any, but I always read about them, because cereal comprised roughly 75% of my diet until a few years ago and thus roughly 75% of my reading.) The reason I took interest initially was because he was Alan Thicke‘s son. He comes from very likable stock!
And while I loved this song, I never further explored Thicke’s catalog, probably because I had moved on to “In Da Club” or Room On Fire or Dave Matthews Band‘s Central Park live album. Oh, and there was a little solo debut by a former boy band star who had similar vibes and went by the name of Justin Timberlake. To think, I could’ve been so ahead of the curve.
**UPDATE: As one of our commenters pointed out below, the song appeared in an accompanying Sprite commercial!