“I wrote a whole album about you,” professional lothario Robin Thicke texts his estranged wife, Paula Patton, in the music video for the pointedly titled “Get Her Back,” the lead single from said album, Paula. “I don’t care,” she replies. And it’s likely no one else will either. Here’s the thing about women: Despite what Wendy Williams thinks, if you publicly humiliate us, making a spectacle to get us back isn’t going to fly. The reason behind the couple’s split has never been disclosed, but the clip for “Get Her Back” makes allusions to alcohol abuse and infidelity, though the ballad “Still Madly Crazy” finds the singer conceding only generally to “lack of self-control,” lamenting that he “lost his soul.” Co-produced by Thicke’s longtime collaborator ProJay, those two songs return the singer to the smooth, baby-making slow jams of his work preceding last year’s crossover smash “Blurred Lines,” and the rest of the album likewise trades its predecessor’s persistent disco thump for a big-band swing. (Who has time to worry about reprising past chart successes when you’re trying to save your marriage?) The minimalist “Get Her Back” is a faint wisp of a track, and sounds more like an interlude than an actual song, and though “Lock the Door” stands out for its gospel-lite background vocal arrangement, it still feels like an Unplugged version of a grander, more memorable song—and features the unfortunate couplet “At least open the doggy door/Throw a friend a juicy bone.” The call-and-response foot-stomper “Black Tar Cloud” is a convincingly remorseful mea culpa, but if it, too, is based on his relationship with Patton (and that’s an assumption Thicke obviously wants us to make), then he just told the whole world that she’s the type of woman who would fake a suicide attempt. And surely that’s not the best way to “get her back.”
Review: Robin Thicke, Paula
Paula returns Thicke to smooth, baby-making slow jams and trades the disco thump for a big-band swing.
Score:Label: Interscope Release Date: July 1, 2014 Buy: Amazon