Monday, February 15th, 2010

Robin Thicke – Sex Therapy



Doug Robertson: Blimey! Doctor Ruth’s upped her game, hasn‘t she?

Anthony Easton: This is not actually supposed to be sexy?

Chuck Eddy: I don’t buy the helium-inflated breathiness of his falsetto, or the way he sustains it instead of employing it strategically, for emotional emphasis. He doesn’t have the pipes to depend on it so much (i.e.: he’s no Eldra Debarge or Russell Thompkins Jr.), and he should leave the sexual healing to Marvin Gaye. Also, this doesn’t have half the groove of “Sidestep,” his excellent single last year. But he does steal a dependable old Lesley Gore hook, which counts for something.

Martin Skidmore: I like the Polow Da Don production: big drums, synth washes and pulses. Thicke sounds too thin for my tastes, high and strained — you can imagine Marvin Gaye making this something special, but it would take someone of something like that calibre.

Al Shipley: Nice vibe, pleasant enough beat, and Thicke generally works well in suave sleazeball mode. But the tune goes nowhere even with a big shameless interpolation to lean on.

Alfred Soto: Frankly, I wouldn’t want Maxwell or Al Green anywhere near a track with this pedestrian a metaphor. The first person who came to mind was the Beck of “Debra,” which should give you an idea of how one should approach singing this track. “Arranging” the track is a different story — can’t have enough glacial synths lifted from an early nineties disco or enough variations on Ciara’s “Promise”.

Alex Macpherson: It’s just as well that enunciation doesn’t seem to be Robin Thicke’s priority here, with lines like – seriously – “we don’t need no breadcrumbs”. Best just to immerse yourself in the luxuriant, aqueous ebb and flow of the production and half-listen to Thicke’s tactile falsetto whispering sweet nothings about hardness and softness into your ear.

Martin Kavka: While I appreciate a man who tells me “it’s your body — we can do whatever you like”, I have greater appreciation for a man who can tell me that without putting me to sleep. But just as I doze off, with no vision of Robin Thicke dancing in my head, I hear him say “don’t be scared of me”. I wasn’t planning on being scared until he told me not to be! Now I may never sleep again, lest he come into my room and “take me like Twilight”. This is one of the creepiest slow jams in recent memory.

Matt Cibula: Don’t wanna be a hater but the song forces me to disapprove of it. I did not like Color Me Badd, and I do not like Thicke’s blatant biting of The-Dream tropes because there’s nothing behind it, and thinking of them both at the same time makes me not feel so good.

Edward Okulicz: So watery and nauseous, the overall effect is like having this “sex therapy” on a leaking water-bed.

13 Responses to “Robin Thicke – Sex Therapy”

  1. What is it he bites from The-Dream exactly?

    This one’s a 9/10 for me. One of the funniest sex hymns of last year, mixed with Polow doing his best Promise retread. That’s Thicke – always a Jerry Seinfeld half smile as he plays the sex god, but it’s still kind of sexy.

  2. Yeah there’s nothing to do w/ The-Dream on here; getting kinda tired of Terius-crazy crits projecting his influence onto all other male R&B artists.

  3. Gotta agree with Matias and Al here! Comparing any male-fronted R&B single to The-Dream is going to be the 10s equivalent of the 90s “comparing any guitar band with, er, expressive singing to Radiohead” at this rate.

  4. So no one else here thinks there isn’t a direct line between “Sweat It Out” or “Kelly’s 12 Play” and this song? Hmm. Well, okay then, fair enough. But I do, so there, so straw-man me as much as you want. Suckaz.

  5. Nah, don’t hear it. I don’t mean to make you alone the punching bag here, though, as edward said it’s becoming a widespread talking point…I knew it was getting out of control when “Birthday Sex” got The-Dream comparisons for a vocal riff that Lenny Williams originated in ’78.

  6. I appreciate that you don’t mean to make me the punching bag…but you did a damn good job of it!

  7. haha well I was just backing up Matias at first, probably wouldn’t have forced the issue myself

  8. You know who would have forced the issue? THE-DREAM. Well, or Colour Me Badd. But mostly THE-DREAM.

  9. i always thought that “birthday sex” was a huuuuuuge dream rip-off in terms of production, not necessarily vocally. i guess it’s hard to say that polow would be ripping of LOS’s big exhaling drum sound since he kind of already had that thing with “promise” but i could see a bit of a connection between this and “sweat it out”. any comparison between thicke & terius when it comes to vocals or lyrical style is gonna be pretty off tho.

  10. what. the. fuck.

    dream comparison’s kinda misguided but jordan’s right that it does bite “promise” in much the same way dream and Los did with “bed”. thematically it’s actually much closer to the latter tho – it’s cool because i’m pretty convinced that sleazy sexy “promise” bites are basically the zenith of what music is capable of.

    thicke’s not the best lyricist but the song does a great job of making you feel a part of its world – between his soaring breathy falsetto (which he’s really in command of here, come on), and those HUGE DRUMS it makes me feel like i’m floating – literally like all of the stress its subject has been experiencing over the course of the week is being lifted. (first four lines are great btw).

    lol @ olds being gaye-nostalgic tho – he’s been dead for over 25 years now guys, there are other things going on in R&B believe it or not.

  11. 9/10

  12. Guess I’ll have to wait till next single to talk about how my girlfriend thinks he’s the funniest thing she’s ever seen or heard in her life.

  13. He is kinda funny.