Even if one is unaware of a singer’s race, something about White R&B is instinctively annoying to most. It just is. My friends couldn’t stand when I played it. Sure, Thicke (who originally went simply by his surname) had an excellent voice and wrote slickly-produced pop R&B, but he sounded too much like the stupid dude with the giant fuzzy hat who could slide on floors (don’t get me wrong – I, with full knowledge of the light in which I stand, admittedly enjoy Jamiroquai).
Nevertheless, I still stand by my man, even if Blake Lewis — the perfect example of what middle aged television producers envision upon hearing the word “funky” — managed to drag Thicke’s cred through the dirt by performing When I Get You Alone on American Idol, what with his trademark frosted tips, beatboxing skills and kooKy golf pants on American Idol.
The work on his recent release, The Evolution Of Robin Thicke, continues down the same musical road. Personally, I find the songs on this album less catchy than those of his debut, but it’s still very much listenable, even if tracks like Lost Without U (his chart-topping breakthrough ballad) and Everything I Can’t Have come off a bit too silly for my taste. However, like a car crash at which you just can’t not stare, Teach U a Lesson is my choice for the weirdest and unintentionally hilarious track off The Evolution Of Robin Thicke.
Draped in one giant thinly veiled analogy, Thicke, without hesitation, delivers lyrical gems like “You can call me professor / But baby you broke the rules / You wont get the grade you want / Unless you stay after school.” Can anybody else smell the statutory rape in the room? At one point, he even takes a sharp turn into political territory, claiming to make his subject nervous because she’s apparently “hiding WMD’s.” Um, huh?
The lilting piano at the song’s start may initially bring to mind the lullabies of Norah Jones, but by its end, the attention-grabbing oddity that is Robin Thicke’s Teach U a Lesson makes one wonder if, in fact, the bard of the bedroom has secretly drawn more hypersexualized inspiration from Shel Silverstein than Barry White.