July 4, 2014 in Features

Thicke overshares on uneven ‘Paula’

Glenn Gamboa Newsday
 

ROBIN THICKE  “Paula”

Grade: C-minus

Everything about Robin Thicke’s album “Paula” (Star Trak/Interscope) is a bad idea.

Thicke has decided to follow up all his “Blurred Lines” success with an album of oddly personal love songs designed to win back his high school sweetheart and wife of nine years, actress Paula Patton. To make matters worse, the first single, “Get Her Back” – a genuine-sounding love ballad/mea culpa that is really the only strong song on this strangely haphazard album – has a ridiculous video that features what may or may not be text messages exchanged by the couple during their breakup. Because nothing makes a celebrity relationship, especially one that includes a 4-year-old son, stronger than airing your fights in public, right?

The video makes the whole “concept” of “Paula” feel like a marketing ploy for a lackluster album, which may or may not be the case. “I thought everyone was going to eat the chip, turns out I’m the only one who double-dipped” is a terrible line, regardless of the context. When placed in the middle of “Black Tar Cloud,” where Thicke alleges threatening fights and a fake suicide attempt in their relationship, it makes the whole song and its faux-soul call-and-response almost laughable.

The James Brown-ish soul of “Living in New York City” shows how wasteful much of “Paula” is. It’s got a great groove, Thicke’s voice sounds good, but it’s built on nonsense like “America! It’s time we go!”

“Paula” is a wasted opportunity for the talented Thicke on basically every level. He should plot out his next moves much more carefully.

MAGIC! “Don’t Kill the Magic”

Grade: C

MAGIC!’s lilting smash “Rude,” the unlikely tale of asking an angry father for his daughter’s hand in marriage, is well on its way to being an even unlikelier No. 1 hit.

However, the Canadian reggae band’s album “Don’t Kill the Magic” (Latium/RCA) accomplishes an even more unexpected feat. It makes “Rude” sound edgy. MAGIC! is clearly a capable band, but it is so bent on depicting a squeaky-clean world, especially in the bland “One Woman One Man” and “How Do You Want to Be Remembered,” that it’s hard to take seriously, especially when bits of “Stupid Me” sound a little too much like Bruno Mars’ “Locked Out of Heaven.”

Hot song

Jason Mraz’s new single, “Love Someone” (Atlantic), is a sweet little surprise. Like his smash “I Won’t Give Up,” “Love Someone” is a laid-back, under-the-radar midtempo ballad, worming its way into your life, little by little, with its simple chorus, “When you love someone, it goes back to you.” But it’s the interesting verses, where Mraz sounds like “Graceland”-era Paul Simon, that will keep people coming back for months (years?) to come.

New in stores

Trey Songz’s “Trigga” (Atlantic)

Old Crow Medicine Show’s “Remedy” (ATO)

Every Time I Die’s “From Parts Unknown” (Epitaph)

“Hedwig and the Angry Inch: Original Broadway Cast Recording” (Atlantic)

Hillsong Worship’s “No Other Name” (Hillsong)


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