"Evolution" - or Devolution?
But the problem was: even though fans of the album knew he was a superior vocalist, not enough people bought the album to make it a commercial success. So now, three years later, Thicke is back. And this time he's allied with producer Pharrell Williams (of the Neptunes) and the two of them have taken Thicke's music in a more mainstream direction.
This is both good and bad, with examples of the good being "Got 2 Be Down" and "Cocaine." The bad, however, is exemplified by the Pharrell-produced first single, "Wanna Love You." "Wanna Love You" typifies the Neptunes' mixed track record when it comes to producing tracks for singers, particularly Thicke, Kelis and Sleepy Brown. Neither Pharrell nor the Neptunes as a unit seem to understand that what works for rappers - fast-paced tracks with hard percussion - doesn't necessarily work for singers, especially someone with a soft, romantic style like Thicke's.
One of the problems with the album is that some of the songs are just flat-out dull. Boring. Unexciting. Not interesting. You get the point. Thicke may be expressing his innermost feelings on such songs as "Would That Make You Love Me" and "Lost Without U," but the songs simply don't connect with the listener because they don't carry any emotional impact despite the sometimes lush production. Even Lil' Wayne, who makes a guest appearance on "All Night Long," doesn't bring any excitement.
So even though there's plenty of good on the 16-song album, there's also a good deal of mediocrity. let's just hope that as Thicke continues to evolve, he's able to find a happy medium between bona fide Soul and urban pop.