Review: Robin Thicke - Something Else

Posted by Mack of Sound-Savvy On 11:35 AM

Artist: Robin Thicke
Album: Something Else
Release Date: 9.30.08

Old folks cling to the following adage: Lightning doesn't strike the same place twice. I say it does, it just doesn't make the same impact. Take for example Robin Thicke, who has just released his third album entitled Something Else. I expected this album to feel and sound the same as it's predecessor, The Evolution of Robin Thicke which was undeniably hot, start to finish. However, I can't get with this new project. It has a similar sound, and Thicke's blazing falsetto is still present in his new work, but the album just doesn't flow as well as the last one did. I wouldn't say there's a lack of variety, just a lack of good variety and it is really just an overall letdown. On the last album he was able to try different things and make them work, on this one his attempts at stepping outside the realm of balladry and R&B seemed fewer and less effective. Needless to say, I'm a bit disappointed.

Let me start by saying that this isn't a completely bad album. I'd say about half of the tracks are pretty good. His lead single Magic got some pretty decent spins and is a nice re-introduction to the successor of Jon B (pardon me, I had to laugh at that). Other highlights include the sensual Loverman, the upbeat two-stepper Sidestep, and the emotionally expressive The Sweetest Love (Mack's choice) on which the purity of Thicke's natural range mixes with his far-reaching falsetto to create an amazing song that's reminiscent of classic Stevie at times. There's a soothing guitar melody on Cry No More that backs Thicke's vocals with a great mesh and Lil Wayne is back in the mix on the politically charged album closer Tie My Hands: "You tie my hands, what am I gonna be? What have I done so bad, what is my destiny?"

Now for the bad: I'm really not feeling the title track; it sounds like a bad attempt at a style that's already been mimicked too much and the hook just falls flat. Dreamworld fails for me in the lyrics, it just lacks the creativity that I'm used to from Mr. Thicke. Shadow of Doubt is by far the weakest track and gave me 3 minutes and 27 seconds of WTF... soooo not feelin' that. Another "just aight" track is Ms. Harmony, which would probably sound a little better if it didn't sound like a remixed Lost Without U - nothing new there.

Even in its great moments, this album fails to deliver as surely as it's predecessor. Lightning may have struck in on a few tracks, but this album is far from a classic. It actually made me revisit some of my favorites from Evolution like I Need Love, Would That Make You Love Me and Shooter (w/ Lil Wayne). Let me just throw in that I was less than impressed with Robin Thicke's live show while he was on tour last summer with Beyonce, but I think that had more to do with his inability to entertain such a large venue. He's better in a smaller, more intimate setting, with less of a "pop" crowd, so maybe this tour with Mary J. Blige will be better (if they can get the ticket sales up). As for Something Else, I'll take what I want off here and scrap the rest, it's not an album worth keeping in rotation, even if it does have a few good songs here and there.

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