Robin Thicke’s 5 Best Pre-“Blurred Lines” Songs The World Ignored
Robin Thicke may seem like this flawless, smoldering R&B powerhouse now, but it took him years to get here. Considering his dad is Alan Thicke, aka the godfather of the Diff’rent Strokes theme song — along with the notorious M.I.K.E. Seaver on the classic Growing Pains — young Thicke had some pretty big shoes to fill. And he sure filled them. Turning the phrase “blue-eyed soul” into something favorable (and not just a euphemism for “white guy singing R&B”), Robin took his smooth vocals and paired them with his poppin’ pelvis to create a package that even has Justin Timberlake breaking out his Moleskine notebook to take notes.
Thicke has amassed a couple hit singles throughout his career, including his breakout song “Lost Without U.” And with “Blurred Lines” now in its seventh week atop the Billboard Hot 100, and its same-titled parent album out tomorrow (July 30), let’s recall some of the less-than-successful attempts at chart success by Thicke. It’s not that these songs aren’t awesome; they really are. They merely slid under the radar, and were overshadowed by whatever else was happening in music at the time or lacked the promotional push from the earlier days of Thicke being signed to Pharrell Williams’ Star Trak imprint.
Check out five of Robin Thicke’s best slept-on singles below!
“When I Get You Alone” (1999)Remember when Robin Thicke had really long hair, looked like Jesus and acted like a bike messenger? Oh, you don’t? Well then check out the debut single from his first album. “When I Get You Alone” was hip and fast, but possessed the elements of soul on his big debut. The album was originally titled Cherry Blue Skies in 2002, but was reloaded and called A Beautiful World in 2003. This was during his hippie days, before cleaning up his act and jumping in a suit and tie. As for the naked lady on the album cover…that’s Paula Patton. Yep — he was with her even back then.
“Wanna Love You Girl” featuring Pharrell Williams (2005) Once Justin Timberlake left the Neptunes’ roost, Robin Thicke aligned with Star Trak and became Pharrell’s white boy muse. What that meant was he’d be getting all of the amazing music JT was missing out on while hanging out with Timbaland. “Wanna Love You Girl” could have arguably been on Justified, but it wasn’t. Instead, it appeared on Thicke’s 2006 breakout album-slash-Star Trak debut The Evolution Of Robin Thicke. Unfortunately the track was overshadowed by the colossal “Lost Without U,” but it still has the spunk to even be a hit single today. A cameo from Pharrell on the track doesn’t hurt either.
“Shakin’ It 4 Daddy” featuring Nicki Minaj (2009) “Shakin’ It 4 Daddy” is perhaps the greatest single that never was. The song appears on 2009’s sexually charged Sex Therapy, and while Thicke explained the crux of the project was about regaining his libido with wife Paula Patton, this song was more stimulating than sensual. The star of the show was Nicki Minaj, who delivered a pair of the hottest verses in her career. Perhaps that’s why, in the 11th hour, the song was canned as being the third single. (It was more of a Nicki song anyway.) Still, Robin Thicke promoted the song everywhere, and even actress Michelle Trachtenberg released a viral video of her rapping along to Nicki’s verse in the car with James Van Der Beek. You know it’s a hit when Georgina Sparks and Dawson Leary are all over it.
“Meiplé” featuring Jay Z (2009) And all along Justin Timberlake probably thought he hit it first… “Meiplé” was Robin Thicke’s comeback promo single on Sex Therapy, and who better to join him than Jay Z? The song is a break from Robin Thicke’s usual style; he’s almost rapping here, until Hov comes along and you remember what rapping actually sounds like. The song has a lot of heavy breathing and pants (ad libs courtesy of Paula Patton), but sounds like it could be blasting from the speakers of some palm tree-lined night club in South Beach. It probably was. And it’s probably playing there right now, too. Well, if it isn’t, then it should be.
“Magic” (2008) Strings. Horns. Congas. The beat alone is magical, but toss in Robin Thicke’s sexy vocals and “Magic” lives up to its title, tenfold. The song appears on Thicke’s shamefully overlooked third album Something Else and represented a transitional period for the crooner. He was finally getting the attention he deserved, thanks to the Evolution Of Robin Thicke, but hadn’t quite yet earned his hottie card from Sex Therapy. Call Something Else his period of growing pains (pun fully intended). “Magic” was simply a casualty of that stretch of time. Of all the songs to revisit in Robin Thicke’s catalog, this is the one that should be spun on repeat.