Published Jul 01, 2014What a peculiar project this Paula is. Try as one might, it's hard to separate the grief that Robin Thicke has been getting for releasing this album (ostensibly created to win back estranged actress wife Paula Patton) with an authentic look at its artistic merit. But attempt we do — and even from an aspiringly objective perspective the 14-track album is lacking. From the uninspiring album cover to the angst-y content within, Paula doesn't even reach the level of his pre-"Blurred Lines" output, which represents an equitably solid discography of R&B/soul.
Paula is uninspired, depressing and an artistic act of self-flagellation. "Something Bad" is definitely the lowest point in an album full of them (see also: "Tippy Toes" or "Time of Your Life"). Musically, Thicke demonstrates his vocal range and versatility — swinging from Big Band to pop to straight up soul; lyrically, he reaches for heartfelt but stumbles into maudlin territory. And while "You're My Fantasy," "The Opposite of Me" "Get Her Back" — sensing a theme here? — are a few bright slices, they aren't enough to save this highly ill-advised effort. Whatever distressing real world issues Thicke is undergoing, it's unlikely that Paula-as-apology will serve to improve the situation one iota. (Universal)