Nudity + Reference tracks = Success + Lawsuits
Starting out producing other artists, Robin Think released his first album in 2002, slowly building his name over five albums.
This was all going well until he released his sixth album in 2013, which propelled him to worldwide fame and immense scrutiny.
The Blurred Lines singer came under fire when Marvin Gaye’s estate realized he’d ripped their dad’s tune Got to Give It Up off, without letting them in on the action. Robin and Pharrell (cowrter and producer) ended up having to pay $7.3 million in damages.
With almost 15 million sales (one of the best-selling singles of all time), he could probably handle it. Sadly, we haven’t heard much from Mr. Thicke since, maybe he gave it up?
Apart from the seriously groovy backing track, the memorable vocal hooks, and possibly a feeling that you heard this before, another strong selling point was the music video. Here Thicke and Williams can be seen with a couple of supermodels having their tits out.
Similar to Forget You, they released a version that got banned, as well as a more clean version where nipples had been blurred. This caused a stir and people sat up to take notice.
Saying that, I remember the song being played on the radio at the time, and being so empty with a great groove really did catch everyone’s attention. It’s easy to start reading into success, maybe it was just a good tune!
Using a reference track like Robin and Pharell clearly did is common practice among professional songwriters.
Sometimes it’s done unconsciously but a lot of the time it’s done through analyzing what it is they like about a song, trying to find the essence, and building something new.
Music history is packed with examples. In the modern world, Ed Sheeran is a good example of someone who does this, but even Bob Dylan has been guilty.
Ed clearly heard Marvin’s Let’s Get It On as he wrote Thinking Out Loud. Bob took an old Scottish folk tune Come All Ye Bold Highwaymen and came up with The Times They Are A-changing. Paul Simon wrote Bridge Over Troubled Water using other tunes. Once you’ve realized, you can’t unsee these things…
There was also a final part in Blurred Lines that caused a stir, leading to more debate and proving that no publicity is bad publicity and that’s the lyrics.
What are Blurred Lines? The sexual undertones were accused of promoting rape culture and as society was becoming more and more woke and politically correct, even the people who hated it, promoted it!
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