The Weeknd, Beauty Behind The Madness © Republic

Madness Behind The Numbers: The Weeknd Provides Awesome Blueprint to R&B Success


The Weeknd, Beauty Behind The Madness © Republic

The Weeknd accomplished something that no other R&B album has accomplished in 2015 – it sold six-figures. Not only did The Weeknd sale six-figures, he sold a robust six-figures at that. Last time yours truly checked, moving 412,000 units in 2015 is shocking – almost ‘the second coming.’ Of course with “units” representing a mix of sales, streams, and tracks, what is the real number that The Weeknd sold? 326,000 copies! That number is still mouth agape impressiveness at it’s most impressive, particularly considering the characterizing genre is R&B. Is this a blueprint for future R&B success or what?

Prior to the release of Beauty Behind The Madness, the best debuting R&B album in 2015 was Tyrese’s Black Rose, which moved 81,000 units. Black Rose marked the first R&B album of 2015 to debut atop the Billboard 200. Jill Scott would follow Tyrese’s triumph with her second career #1 album Woman, though the numbers were substantially less than Tyrese’s and her own former chart topper, The Light of the Sun. Woman moved just 62,000 units and slightly less in pure sales. So what does this mean you ask? It means that The Weeknd has crossed a huge hurdle for R&B in the new normal of so-so sales.

Now the naysayers will be quick to say that The Weeknd isn’t the perfect savior for R&B. I wouldn’t disagree with them (don’t throw stones at me). While Beauty Behind The Madness was indeed an enjoyable album, it wasn’t quite the ‘second coming’ as the numbers suggest. Arguably, the best material – save for a couple of songs – already graced the public from Beauty Behind The Madness before its release (“Earned It (Fifty Shades of Grey),” “Can’t Feel My Face” and “The Hills”). While it’s true the aforementioned are the crème de la crème, isn’t it brilliant promotion, something R&B is starving for?

No, The Weeknd isn’t Michael Jackson reincarnated, though he certainly has a sick set of pipes. What he is, at least in 2015, is the formula to follow to commercial success. Better albums have blessed my ears this year and in years past, but if there’s a winner in the promotional department, The Weeknd wins it hands down.

Bragging even more on the numbers themselves, Beauty Behind The Madness outperformed the previous week’s number one, Disturbed’s Immortalized in overall impact more than four times (412,000 versus 98,000)! In pure sales, the album trumped Immortalized more than three times (326,000 versus 93,000)! The runner-up album this week, Halsey’s Badlands moved 115,000 copies this week; The Weeknd tripled her up in both impact and sales (326,000 versus 97,000). One last stat – The Weeknd impacted more than the rest of the top10 albums combined (412,000 versus 376,000 for albums two through ten).

So how do R&B artists implement this? They must be proactive in pushing their own work. This means with label management/A&R as well, which seem to be sleeping on nearly every R&B album rolled out. If labels don’t try to truly promote and put some money behind the R&B artists on their roster, how do they possibly have a chance to sell? If I were a label and saw the numbers that The Weeknd was delivering, I’d be trying to copy the formula. These aren’t just exceptional R&B numbers – these are exceptional mainstream numbers regardless of the genre.

Another way of implementation is the material. Yes going commercial can mean selling out, but boy doesn’t “Earned It (50 Shades of Grey)” sure sound like a tried and true R&B record in its overall sound. It peaked at #3. Sure, you don’t have to amplify sex like The Weeknd, but there’s definitely something there. Maybe even tweaking the sound can land you that unexpected hit that sets up or reinvigorates one’s career – or at least one album. Hey, didn’t Robin Thicke achieve success that had eluded him with Blurred Lines in ’13?

Keyshia Cole, Point of No Return © Interscope

The Numbers Don’t Lie – The R&B Album Is Dead (Commercially) 


Keyshia Cole, Point of No Return © Interscope

As they say, “the proof is in the pudding.” What pudding you ask – R&B album sales ladies and gentlemen. It’s one thing that album sales are down across all genres, but if you examine R&B albums themselves, you’ll see that R&B sales are nothing short of abysmal. Basically, the commercially successful R&B album seems to be dead as it is.

Below are a list of the majority of R&B albums released in 2014, their peak position on the Billboard 200, and their first week sales. Also for a number of the albums, there is a link to articles discussing the album sales.

1) Ariana Grande, My Everything, #1, 169,000 copies

2) Sam Smith, In The Lonely Hour #2, 166,000 copies

3) Chris Brown, X, #2, 146,000 copies

4) Pharrell Williams, GIRL #2, 112,000 copies

5) Trey Songz, Trigga – #1, 105,000 copies

6) Jhené Aiko, Souled Out – #3, 70,000 copies

7) Toni Braxton & Babyface, Love, Marriage & Divorce – #4, 67,000 copies

8) August Alsina, Testimony – #2, 67,000 copies

9) Mariah Carey, Me. I Am Mariah…The Elusive Chanteuse, #3, 58,000 copies

10) Mary J. Blige, The London Sessions, #9, 55,000 copies

11) Kem, Promise to Love, #3, 52,000 copies

12) Prince, Art Official Age, #5, 51,000 copies

13) Aloe Blacc, Lift Your Spirit, #4, 45,000 copies

14) Jason Derulo, Talk Dirty, #4, 44,000 copies

15) Jennifer Lopez, A.K.A., #8, 33,000 copies

16) Ashanti, Braveheart, #10, 28,000

17) Prince & 3rdeyegirl, PLECTRUMELECTRUM, #8, 26,000 copies

18) Keyshia Cole, Point of No Return #9, 25,000

19) Robin Thicke, Paula, #9, 24,000 copies

20) Jennifer Hudson, JHUD, #10, 24,000 copies

21) SoMo, SoMo, #6, 23,000 copies

22) Ledisi, The Truth, #14, 20,000 copies

23) Candice Glover, Music Speaks, #14, 19,000 copies

24) Tinashe, Aquarius, #17, 19,000 copies

25) Marsha Ambrosius, Friends & Lovers, #12, 17,000 copies

26) Tank, Stronger, #17, 17,000 copies

27) Joe, Bridges, #17, 15,000 copies

Ariana Grande, My Everything © Republic

Here are some takeaways. First, sadly, no R&B album sold greater than 200,000 copies, with Ariana Grande’s pop/R&B effort moving the most copies its first week selling 169,000 copies. Last year in December, the music industry was blessed with Beyoncé issuing Beyoncé, which sold 617,000 copies its first week. Sure, half-million sales don’t happen everyday – or better yet every year – but not surpassing the 200,000 mark at least once is upsetting.

Of this list, only five albums sold greater than 100,000 copies. SMH! The percentage of R&B albums debuting with 100,000 copies or more is a tepid 19%. So, lets aim lower. The number of albums selling 75,000 copies or more is 6 – SMDH. Percentage wise, that gets us up to 22%. So aiming even lower, how about R&B albums debuting with 50,000 copies or more. That accounts for 12 out of 27 of the albums, but still comes below 50% of the albums on this list – 44%.

So, not even 50% of R&B albums were able to sell 50,000 copies in 2014 (accounting for major R&B releases of course). If you average the sales of the 27 R&B albums on the given list, the average number of copies sold for an R&B album in 2014 was 55,000 copies. While that 55,000 copies is a greater average than the most of the albums on this list actually sold, that number is driven up by the topmost albums on this list.

Here’s the catch. Some might argue that Ariana Grande and Sam Smith are more pop-oriented than pure R&B singers. If that’s the case, eliminating their numbers makes the news even more devastating for R&B artists. That lowers the average debut for an R&B album in 2014 to just shy of 47,000 copies. It would also mean that out of the ‘true’ 25 R&B albums on this list, only three were album to sell more than 100,000 copies (12%), only four were able to sell 75,000+ (16%), and on 10 sold more than 50,000 copies (40%).

Anyway that you crunch the numbers, the R&B album is dead according to sales and stats. Sure, some of the singles still catch on, but then again, do they? The top selling albums on this list are generally the ones with the singles that have broken through. There are exceptions, specifically Jason Derulo’s Talk Dirty, but many of the bottom feeders of the list don’t have a big hit to their name.

So what is the best use of data like this? Well, it’s to figure out what’s the best way to make R&B a lucrative genre again. Does it mean ‘selling out’ and making everything more pop centric just to earn commercial success, or does it mean approaching promotional strategy differently and more aggressively. Furthermore, for the R&B singer that is still on a major label, how does he or she coax the label to put in the money and work to make the sales happen? Maybe I’m an outsider looking in, but many of the promotional rollouts for some truly worthwhile R&B albums have been pretty lackadaisical.

Riff Raff, Neon Icon © Mad Decent

Regrettable Albums…Could it Be?


Jennifer Lopez, A.K.A. © Capitol

Sadly, not every album that saw the light of day in 2014 was a winner.  This is no reference to sales, but rather, a reference to releasing the ‘wrong’ album in regards to the material and quality of the album itself.  The 10 artists/albums in a recent starpulse.com post penned by ‘yours truly’ didn’t record an album that allowed them to experience success in other words.  True, many of these albums weren’t lucrative in the sales department, but contrasting a previous starpulse.com post Flop-tastic: 10 Biggest Album Flops of 2014 (So Far), sales are not important.

50 Cent, Animal Ambition © G Unit

If you haven’t checked out the 10 Most Regrettable Albums Of 2014 on starpulse.com, please do!  Furthermore, if you need even more negativity on the music industry front, check out those album flops (keep those views coming).  And if all the negativity is too much of a bummer, well check out Triumphant: 10 Biggest Album Successes Of 2014 (So Far).  And if you just need more of ‘Brent Faulkner‘s’ ‘genius’ writing in your life (who wrote this part?), then make sure you check out his my other blog, located here.  As always thanks brentmusicreviews.com visitors and fans!

Photo Credits:  © Mad Decent (Riff Raff), © Capitol (Jennifer Lopez), © G-Unit Records (50 Cent)
Robin Thicke performing in December 2013.

Ranking Robin Thicke’s Albums


Robin Thicke performing in December 2013.Paula has been nothing but bad news for Robin Thicke, and no that statement isn’t referencing Paula Patton herself. Examining Robin Thicke’s discography – excluding A Beautiful World credited to ‘Thicke’ – Paula certainly ranks at the bottom. That said, what about the remainder of Thicke’s works as a whole? Based on his output up until this point, what albums stand out as significant legacy shapers and which ones should be selling dirt-cheap in the bargain bin? This list ranks Thicke’s six albums of note.

6) Paula (2014)

Standouts: “Get Her Back” & “Forever Love”

Rationale for ranking: It’s kind of like Super Ted – “…made all wrong from the start.”

5) Love After War (2011)

Robin Thicke, Love After War

Standouts: “Animal,” “Our Generation,” “Pretty Lil’ Heart” featuring Lil Wayne & “Love After War”

Rationale for ranking: Prior to Paula, Love After War would’ve easily been considered Thicke’s worst album. “Thank God for Paula,” you might say. Seriously, trends on the boring side.

Tie – 3) Sex Therapy (2009)

Robin Thicke, Sex Therapy

Standouts: “Ms. Sexy,” “Sex Therapy,” “Meiple,” “It’s in the Morning” & “Shaking it For Daddy”

Rationale for ranking: As superb as Something Else was, it was also underrated and perhaps too indulgent in blue-eyed/neo-soul. Sex Therapy definitely gave Thicke an edgier image without turning him into a total ‘bad boy’ – Blurred Lines would handle that. 

Tie – 3) Blurred Lines (2013)

Robin Thicke, Blurred Lines

Standouts: “Blurred Lines,” “Give It 2 U,” “Feel Good” & “4 the Rest of My Life”

Rationale for ranking: A tie for third might be a bit high for Blurred Lines, despite the fact that it elevated Thicke’s profile. If Sex Therapy gave Thicke and edgier image with a bit more aggressive sound within the context of his blue-eyed, pop soul, Blurred Lines also elevated the naughtiness, while being more pop-oriented than Thicke’s previous albums.

2) Something Else (2008)

Robin Thicke, Something Else

Standouts: “You’re My Baby,” “Sidestep,” “Magic,” “Dreamworld”  & “Tie My Hands” (with Lil Wayne)

Rationale for ranking: Something Else, maybe surprisingly, has an argument to be Thicke’s best album. While it lacks flash and pizzazz, it is a soundly conceived contemporary soul album. Other than The Evolution of Robin Thicke, Thicke seems like he’s solidified his artistic identity without a hitch.

1) The Evolution of Robin Thicke (2006)

The Evolution of Robin Thicke

Standouts: “Got 2 Be Down,” “Complicated,” “Ask Myself,” “Lost Without U,” “Wanna Love You Girl,” & “Can U Believe” 

Rationale for ranking: First albums of note (we’re excluding A Beautiful World) are almost always hard to supersede. While Something Else has a legitimate case for the number one spot, The Evolution of Robin Thicke was the album that established Thicke’s career. Even though Blurred Lines brought Thicke his pop swag (and first number one album), it was “Lost Without U” and the pop soul of The Evolution of Robin Thicke that put Thicke on the map. This album set up Thicke’s career.

12 Best Robin Thicke Songs – Starpulse.com

Robin Thicke, Paula © Interscope

Robin Thicke’s Up and Down Career


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After being on top of the world (and the charts) in 2013, Robin Thicke’s world has come crumbling down in 2014. In other words, it’s been a crappy year for Thicke. Robin Thicke separated from wife/longtime sweetheart Paula Patton and even more shamefully released a lackluster album named Paula to “Get Her Back.Eyes rolled worldwide, as no one was ‘buying’ Thicke’s tricks, or better yet his album.

This week, Paula earned Thicke his lowest album sales this side of The Evolution of Robin Thicke. The Evolution of Robin Thicke initially debuted at #45 on the Billboard 200 selling 20,000 copies, but went on to peak at #5, exceeding its humble beginnings. Paula starts off unremarkably at #9 selling just 24,000 copies. Compared to last year’s smash Blurred Lines, Paula is off by roughly 153,000 copies! Can you say downgrade, Thicke, downgrade?

After The Evolution of Robin Thicke started slow, it gained momentum for the artist spawning #1 R&B hit “Lost Without U.“Lost Without U” would be the single that ‘set up’ Thicke’s career. “Blurred Lines,the rare 12-week #1 pop single, would seemingly both restore and breakthrough Thicke’s up-and-down career, giving him his first #1 album and biggest commercial numbers yet. Below are how Robin Thicke’s five albums compare in regards to chart peak and opening sales.

BTW, A Beautiful World, credited to Thicke (as opposed to Robin Thicke), isn’t included in any discussions here.

Robin Thicke Chart History – Billboard 200

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  • The Evolution of Robin Thicke, 2006 (Peaked at #5, initially sold 20,000 copies; Sold 116,000 copies during the week of February 21, 2007)
  • Blurred Lines, 2013 (#1, 177,000 copies)
  • Paula, 2014 (#9, 24,000 copies)

In regards to singles, often a factor in driving the chart performance of an album, “Blurred Lines” supersedes the success of “Lost Without U.” “Blurred Lines” was highly decorated, more so than “Lost Without U,” which peaked on the pop charts at #14. Otherwise, the rest of Thicke’s moderately successful singles haven’t quite had the same reach. The list below only lists singles that reached both the Billboard Hot 100 and R&B/Hip Hop Songs charts.

Robin Thicke Chart history – The Hot 100

  • “Lost Without U” [The Evolution of Robin Thicke] (#14 Hot 100, #1 R&B/Hip-Hop)
  • “Can U Believe” [The Evolution of Robin Thicke] (#99 Hot 100, #15 R&B/Hip-Hop)
  • “Magic” [Something Else] (#54 Hot 100, #6 R&B/Hip-Hop)
  • “Sex Therapy” [Sex Therapy] (#54 Hot 100, #1 R&B/Hip-Hop)
  • “Give It 2 U” featuring Kendrick Lamar [Blurred Lines] (#25 Hot 100, #7 R&B/Hip-Hop)
  • “Blurred Lines” featuring Pharrell Williams & T.I. [Blurred Lines] (#1 Hot 100, #1 R&B/Hip-Hop)
  • “Get Her Back” [Paula] (#82 as of July 9, Hot 100, #33 R&B/Hip-Hop)

The singles are somewhat telling. Notice that there were no charting Hot 100 singles from December 2011 release Love After War. Given the busy, crowded holiday sales time as well as the restraint of the album itself, it seems as if Love After War didn’t have much to propel it to more enthusiastic sales. “Blurred Lines” indeed was the career boost at just the right time that Thicke needed.

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Yet with a hastily released follow-up album, Robin Thicke has killed his own vibe and possibly his career. How many times have artists released the wrong album, not to mention at the worst possible time? Chris Brown’s forgettable Graffiti (2009) comes to mind. Like Thicke, he had a monster album follow-up a less notable one (F.A.M.E., 2011), and then released the horrid, second-rate follow-up (Fortune, 2012).

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Comebacks are always possible, but they don’t always work. Ask Mariah Carey, who released a respectable album in Me. I Am Mariah that has been the biggest commercial train wreck of her career. Thicke has put himself in a precarious position. When your career prime has already graced its presence, sometimes other opportunities are ‘no-goes.’

Sam Smith, In the Lonely Hour © Capitol

The Plight That Is Albums Sales – Billboard Chart Takeaways


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Brentmusicreviews has been quick to highlight how R&B music sales in particular have fallen tremendously. While the R&B plight continues throughout 2014 (no shade Mariah), a general takeaway from studying the Billboard 200 Albums Chart will reveal that the album sales decline isn’t genre-specific. A successful album in the ‘new normal’ of album sales has much more tempered expectations than albums did, say a couple of years ago. The chart trends reveal just how much music sales have declined.

The Good…

Rather than blast with the ugly stats, how about some positives in regards to the Billboard albums chart.

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  • Trey Songz earned a second #1 album with his sixth studio LP, Trigga ;  This is Songz’s fourth top ten album (Ready, Passion, Pain & Pleasure, Chapter V)

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  • Sam Smith, despite debuting at #2 behind Lana Del Rey (Ultraviolence), continues to outsell her. Smith’s chart positions in three weeks are #2, #2, and #3. Del Rey on the other hand, began at #1, slipped to #4, and this week slips to #8.

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  • A couple of acts have come-ups. August Alsina, whose album Testimony has slid since debuting respectably at #2 (67,000 copies), receives ‘greatest gainer’ honors ascending from #67 all the way to #23. Similarly, Schoolboy Q sees his former chart topper, Oxymoron rise from #69 to #43.

The new album Me. I Am Mariah… The Elusive Chanteuse is in stores now!

A photo posted by Mariah Carey (@mariahcarey) on

…The Bad and the Ugly

Despite the aforementioned bright spots, there is also plenty of less triumphant news, particularly the second- and successive week stumbles of any number of albums.

#TRIGGA 7/1 http://tgt.biz/1hSnEuw @target

A photo posted by treysongz (@treysongz) on

  • Although Trey Songz debuts at #1 with 105,000 copies, his numbers were approximately 30,000 copies off from 2012 effort Chapter V (#1, 135,000 copies). Chapter V itself was off a more robust 105,000 copies from 2010 effort, Passion, Pain & Pleasure, which narrowly missed #1 with 240,000 copies sold.

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  • Another alarming fact is that Trigga was the only album to sell more than 100,000 copies.  This isn’t the first time this has happened this year, is it Miranda Lambert?

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  • Robin Thicke did not have a good week – in fact it was pretty crappy to say the least. Paula debuted at #9, but only sold 24,000 copies. 2013 triumph Blurred Lines sold nearly eight times as much, selling 177,000 copies!

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  • Big names have flopped big time on the charts. Mariah Carey, Jennifer Lopez, and 50 Cent have underachieved. 50 Cent gets a bit of a pass given his newfound indie status, but Mimi and J. Lo are both on major labels. Shame, shame, shame!

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  • Week two has been horrid for many artists. Even though Ed Sheeran only falls from #1 to #2, his sales too a considerable hit his second week, settling for 53,000 copies after a 210,000 start. Other sales erosion can be more ‘visualized’ on the album chart as follows: G-Eazy’s These Things Happens tumbles from #3 to #26; Mastodon’s Once More ‘Round the Sun falls #6 to #32; Joe’s Bridges slips from #17 to #40; Phish’s Fuego stumbles from #7 to #47; Ab-Soul’s These Days free-falls from #11 to #91. Ouch!

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  • Tessanne Chin’s Count on My Love enters the Billboard 200… at a tepid #41. The album wasn’t promoted well in the least.

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  • Mediocrity continues to be the trend for numerous albums. Mali Music’s Mali Is sports unremarkable chart geography over the course of its three weeks: #16, #52, and this week #95. Deadmau5 got off to a better start then Mali, but still can’t brag: #9, #26, and this week #66.

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Next week, the charts are going to be extremely light, as Billboard prognosticates Sia could debut at #1, but only with 50,000 copies sold. Folks, album sales are only getting worse.

Robin Thicke, Paula © Interscope

Chart Blues for R&B Artists


Some artists triumph commercial, while others fail.  While 2014 has had its share of chart triumphs; there have been some big-time chart blues for some artists.  What makes chart failures even more painful is when the artist was previously successful.  Here are some observations from last week’s Billboard 200/upcoming prognostications. 

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  • Mariah Carey has the flop of her career on her hands. Me. I Am Mariah…The Elusive Chanteuse has been plummeting down the charts, with the latest free-fall being tremendous.  The album feel from #46 to #70, five weeks into its chart stint!  After starting with only 58,000 copies, you can see the blues before your own eyes.

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  • Joe begins unimpressively, as Bridges debuted at #17.  Previously, Joe has been a top 10 machine.  Bridges wasn’t well promoted by any means.

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  • Jennifer Lopez also has a flop on her hands; A.K.A. free-falls from #8 all the way to #31 in it’s second week. Ouch! To begin with, J. Lo only sold 33,000 copies.

 

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  • Mali Music quietly debuted at #16 with his R&B debut, Mali Is (his third album overall).  The effort falls this week to #52.

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  • Both Trey Songz and Robin Thicke are expected to see lower sales for new albums Trigga and Paula.  Trey’s numbers are still respectable should they hold up (90-100,000), but Thicke’s are horrid (20,000).
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Ed Sheeran Comes Up, Trey Songz’s Got Next


As expected, Ed Sheeran had a fantastic sales week for sophomore album X.  The British singer/songwriter ended up selling 210,000 copies.  Compared to the numbers the #1 album the same week from last year moved (Wale‘s The Gifted sold 158,000 copies),  Sheeran outperformed.  Last week, I composed a review for Sheeran’s X at starpulse.com, which you can read here.  Other artists debuting in the top 10 with respective albums include G-EazyMastodon, and Phish.   You can read my analysis of the chart numbers/sales trends at the following link: Ed Sheeran’s Excellent Chart Numbers: This Week in Music – Starpulse.com.

81-QTfyiegL._SL1442_Despite prognostications indicating lower sales than his previous album Chapter V,  Trey Songz looks to be on his way to another #1 album.  Within Billboard’s forecast article, there is no mention of a second R&B singer releasing an album this week. Yes my friends, that would be Robin Thicke, who’s Paula just may rank among the worst albums of the year. Paula seems like it will debut a far cry from the 177,000, #1 start for Blurred Lines

Watch me on @JimmyKimmel tonight on ABC! 11:35PM PST / 10:35PM Central

A photo posted by treysongz (@treysongz) on

If you haven’t already, be sure to check out my special video commentary for both Robin Thicke and Trey Songz’s album.  Also, check out my written review for Robin Thicke’s Paula here.  Finally, be on the look out for the Trey Songz written review!

Robin Thicke, Paula © Interscope

Review: Robin Thicke Sounds Desperate On ‘Paula’ – Starpulse.com


Unfortunately for Robin Thicke, his latest album Paula ends up being the train wreck I personally thought it would be.  Boring, blasé, over the top, and old-fashioned (in a bad way), Paula ranks at the bottom of Thicke’s discography.  To read my full thoughts on Thicke’s latest album, check out the link below:

Review: Robin Thicke Sounds Desperate On ‘Paula’ – Starpulse.com.

Here’s a bonus: Video commentary from me discussing Paula‘s imperfections as thicke’s latest project.

 

Robin Thicke, Paula © Interscope

Note-taking: Robin Thicke, “Get Her Back”


Robin Thicke, Paula © Interscope

Thicke’s ‘make-up’ single is…umm…underwhelming…
Robin Thicke • “Get Her Back” (Single) • Star Trak / Interscope • Single Release Date: May 19, 2014 
 Robin Thicke works up a sweat as he performs on the Congo Square Stage at the 2014 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival held at New Orleans Fair Grounds Race Track New Orleans 04/26/2014 © PacificCoastNews
Robin Thicke works up a sweat as he performs on the Congo Square Stage at the 2014 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival held at New Orleans Fair Grounds Race Track New Orleans 04/26/2014 © PacificCoastNews

Robin Thicke has been in the headlines in 2014 for a couple of different reasons, namely his split with wife Paula Patton.  Rumors have swirled the breakup was on old boy, potentially based on unfaithfulness.  Besides news of the split heard ‘round the world, Thicke is also planning to release a new album, led by single “Get Her Back”. This new album supposedly will arrive July 1st – an ambitious release date given that Blurred Lines arrived just July 30th, 2013 (less than a year ago!).  While listening and analyzing Thicke’s new single, I took a few notes, made a few judgments, handed out a few grades categorically…customary, right?

Production / Sound:

  • Soulful-sounding in a neo-soul style
  • Use of guitars is a notable feature
  • Bare-bones as opposed to being overt
  • Even though it is “bare-bones”, don’t think of the minimalism of “Blurred Lines” for a comparison point nor the more developed, more memorable “For The Rest of My Life” 

GRADE: C; nothing really earth shattering…

Songwriting:

  • Concept: Love centric; particularly atoning for the “wrongs” he’s committed
  • Lyrically, it’s not deep (vague), but Thicke makes his point generally – he’s got to “get her back” and “treat her right”
  • Almost certainly certainly written based upon his recent split with long-time sweetheart and wife, Paula Patton
  • Memorable lyrics:
    • “I should have kissed you longer / I should have held you stronger  / And I’ll wait for forever for you to love me again”  (Verse)
    • “All I wanna do is make it right, make it right…” (Chorus)
    • “I gotta get her go, get her go, get her back…” (Chorus)
    • “Oh it’s so hard, oh it’s so hard / but it doesn’t have to be” (Bridge)

 GRADEC; A lack of lyrical depth makes this song a bit of a lightweight musically

Vocal Performance: 

  • Thicke’s vocals are smooth and soulful
  • Sings in both chest voice and falsetto
  • Don’t call the performance electrifying – gets the job done though

GRADE: C;  Merely good/average, not Thicke’s best nor most memorable performance

Final Thoughts & Evaluation:

Robin Thicke Launches the 11th Season of Rehab at Hard Rock Las Vegas on April 12, 2014 Las Vegas Pools and Day Clubs, Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Las Vegas, NV, USA 04/12/2014 © PRN / PRPhotos.com
Robin Thicke Launches the 11th Season of Rehab at Hard Rock Las Vegas on April 12, 2014 Las Vegas Pools and Day Clubs, Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Las Vegas, NV, USA 04/12/2014 © PRN / PRPhotos.com

After all is said and done, “Get Her Back” feels a bit underwhelming.  Thicke merely makes his point, but doesn’t really develop the song into something truly special, connective, or meaningful.  To his credit, he says what he needs to do in basic terms, but listeners and likely his ex- would likely get more out of the song with better attention to detail.

★★½