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CD review: Robin Thicke’s ‘Paula’

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Smith Galtney

Two and a half stars

Robin Thicke Paula

It didn’t have to be like this, man. You were supposed to lie low for a while, let the whole “date-rape anthem”/“Beetlejuice-on-Miley” thing die down. You weren’t supposed to resurface, like, the next summer. And God knows it was certainly not the right time to be all, “Let’s make a concept album about my wife and how we recently separated and how she really Really REALLY needs to come back!” Y’all knew Robin Thicke was clueless (google #AskThicke), but everything about his new album is brazenly, almost brilliantly ignorant.

Paula is some ballsy sh*t—a stripped-down, self-indulgent, weird-as-hell song cycle that doesn’t even try to offer “Blurred Lines II.” Coming from a more likeable artist, it would be embraced as bold, daring, credible. But this is the dork who turned “I know you want it” into a catchphrase. Now suddenly he’s changed his tune to “I know I need you”? Gee, I don’t know, Robin. I’ll give you an extra star for putting yourself out there and going out on a limb, but it’ll take at least 15 to 20 years before we’ll see past your b.s. and judge this music wholly on its own terms.

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