Robin Thicke could have never released an album this year and he still would’ve been one of 2013′s biggest music stars. Such is the power of “Blurred Lines” and its endlessly debated video. Lucky for people who like flirty, blue-eyed soul, Thicke decided to release a full album today (July 30). Of course, the main question facing listeners was whether Blurred Lines could succeed beyond its title track.
Our review argues that it was a modest victory on that front. We scored Blurred Lines a 3 out of 5, positing that there are “buried gems on this well-constructed, but ultimately slight, record from arguably the best blue-eyed soul singer of the past decade.” In our sweep of the available reviews, reactions to the album were mixed — but everyone seemed to agree it was a breezy, fun listen.
Head below to read our roundup of reviews.
:: SPIN gave it an 8/10, calling it “the album Justin Timberlake was too famous to make” and celebrating the fact that Thicke “shamelessly parades his versatility as a singer and a lover. He’s crass and corny and comic, and yours for the night if you’ll have him.”
:: The A.V. Club handed out a healthy B+, saying “Blurred Lines’ playfulness is its real strength,” adding that it’s “an album full of summer jams that deserve to linger long after the temperature drops.”
:: Billboard gave the album a 70/100, taking issue with its scattered makeup and lack of continuity, but argued it found Thicke “striving to become the full-fledged pop star he’s never quite been.”
:: Vibe‘s reviewer lauded Thicke for landing on “a sound suitable for all ages…smudging both genre and decade boundaries. It’s disco-meets-rave-meets R&B.”
:: The L.A. Times called Blurred Lines “a celebration of plasticine funk, warbly bass and plump booties” and the reviewer feels Thicke is “best when he’s roaming free and chasing the ideal (objectified) woman.”
:: Pop Matters rated it a 6/10, noting that his “music swells and falls in satisfying waves [and] lands with a gentle nudge and a seemingly effortless caress,” but arguing it “loses its charm when it stops trying to resurrect Michael Jackson.”
:: The Associated Press gushed about the album: “Sexy, perfect-pitch vocals, enticing lyrical foreplay and the music that delivers. With ‘Blurred Lines,’ Thicke’s path to music’s top spot should be clear from now on.”
:: The Guardian, however, was the roughest in its 2/5 review, calling it “passable party pabulum.” The reviewer also levied the following talking point: ”Some people make music to communicate the stirrings of their soul. Robin Thicke makes music to communicate to you the size of his penis.” (Apparently the writer has never listened to rap music?)