Target Practice

Target Practice: Robin Thicke ft T.I. & Pharrell “Blurred Lines”


Welcome to Target Practice where bad popular songs of the past and present get shot. A while ago, I watched a video from Kevin Logan that looked at the subject to today’s post (BTW, check out his channel) and it made me consider my thoughts on this particular record. See, I used to be one of those people who thought that the people who called it misogynistic and “rapey” were out of their minds. Then again, at the time of the song’s popularity, I was very ignorant on women and LGBTQ+ issues even though I’ve always been left-leaning. I remember liking the song and expressing that view back in my first ever Top 40 Review. Now, listening to the song again after many years and watching Kevin Logan’s video, I no longer have that viewpoint. Today’s Target Practice was the second biggest hit of 2013. From Robin Thicke, Pharrell, and T.I., this is Blurred Lines.

Robin Thicke Blurred Lines Cover.svg

Everybody get up
Everybody get up

And here’s Pharrell’s contribution to the song outside of the production. Get used to that because he says “everybody get up” a lot like no one in the audience was enthusiastic about the song. Also, get used to hearing “woo” a lot, which came from a certain 70s hit from an R&B legend. Anyways, here’s Robin Thicke.

If you can’t hear what I’m tryna say
If you can’t read from the same page
Maybe I’m going deaf
Maybe I’m going blind
Maybe I’m out of my mind

Honestly, why would anyone want to listen to you?

OK, now he was close
Tried to domesticate you
But you’re an animal
Baby, it’s in your nature
Just let me liberate you
You don’t need no papers
That man is not your maker

And now, we have a douchebag trying to steal another man’s girlfriend. Classy. Also, what he calls liberation is just another phrase for fucking.

And that’s why I’m gon’ take a good girl
I know you want it
I know you want it
I know you want it
You’re a good girl
Can’t let it get past me
You’re far from plastic
Talk about getting blasted
I hate these blurred lines
I know you want it
I know you want it
I know you want it
But you’re a good girl
The way you grab me
Must wanna get nasty
Go ahead, get at me
Everybody get up

And we’ve reached the chorus, the part of the song that people have said was “rapey.” How have I been so ignorant to this after all these years? I know you want it? I hate these blurred lines? Jesus fucking Christ, how forceful could you be? And I’m pretty sure the way she’s grabbing you is more of an indication of her getting ready to knee you in the nuts.

What do they make dreams for
When you got them jeans on
What do we need steam for
You the hottest bitch in this place

Again, classy.

I feel so lucky,
You wanna hug me
What rhymes with hug me?

Time to rehash what I said in an old Random WTF Lyrics segment.

Random WTF Lyrics #12

OHHH! Did you see that? Robin Thicke thinks he’s clever. It’s like he’s saying “fuck me,” but he didn’t. Hahahaha. He’s so family-friendly.

And now for T.I.’s verse. Can he redeem this song?

One thing I ask of you
Lemme be the one you back that ass to
Come on from Malibu to Paris boo
Had a bitch, but she ain’t bad as you
So, hit me up when you pass through
I’ll give you something big enough to tear your ass in two
Swag on ’em even when you dress casual
I mean, it’s almost unbearable

I’ll give you something big enough to tear your ass in two. Well, that’s… certainly some grotesque imagery there, a dick big enough to split a woman’s ass apart.

In a hundred years not dare would I
Pull a Pharcyde, let you pass me by
Nothin’ like your last guy, he too square for you
He don’t smack that ass and pull your hair like that

Again, he’s talking about taking another man’s girlfriend.

So I’m just watching and waitin’
For you to salute the true big pimpin’
Not many women can refuse this pimping
I’m a nice guy, but don’t get confused, this pimpin’

Rhyming pimping with itself three times. Yes, I know there’s internal rhymes in there, but it’d be a stretch to say that true, refuse, and confused rhyme. Song’s not over yet, though.

Shake your rump
Get down, get up
Do it like it hurt, like it hurt
What you don’t like work

Basically, back that ass up like Juvenile says.

Baby, can you breathe
I got this from Jamaica
It always works for me
Dakota to Decatur

I wouldn’t do that if I were you. Who knows if that shit was laced?

No more pretending
‘Cause now you’re winning
Here’s our beginning
I always wanted a good girl

Okay, I’m done here.

This song is a blurred line of indecency. Why the fuck did I ever liked this? Maybe it was the production? But then again, it takes a lot from Marvin Gaye’s Got To Give It Up to the point where his family sued Robin Thicke and Pharrell and won. That aside, if you look at the content of the song, you’ll see a bunch of doucheholes who are targeting other men’s spouses and trying to convince them to have sex with them. It’s the textbook definition of toxic masculinity and it affirms something that I already knew: Robin Thicke is a sleazebag. You look at a good chunk of his songs and they’re oozing with sleaze. T.I. pretty much underwhelms with his verse and Pharrell should’ve known better. I have a feeling that with the way times are shifting, that history will not be kind to Blurred Lines. I mean, that’s already happening right now. There’s still other songs out there with worse content, but this is still pretty bad and it deserved its backlash. Next Target Practice, we’re going to look at Welcome To My Life by Simple Plan.

Peace!!

SONG OF THE WEEK

Word Crimes-Weird Al Yankovic

8 thoughts on “Target Practice: Robin Thicke ft T.I. & Pharrell “Blurred Lines”

  1. For your next target practice after Welcome to my life, I think you should do “The Lazy Song” by Bruno Mars. No disrespect to Bruno, but that’s by far the worst song of his career and is just overdue for a target practice.

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  2. And because of that court ruling, artists have to watch their backs even more now when making songs no matter how minor the inspiration or similarity is as we’ve seen with cases like Taylor Swift giving credit to Right Said Fred on Look What You Made Me Do. Marvin Gaye’s family has even recently sued Ed Sheeran for how Thinking Out Loud sounds a lot like Let’s Get It On. Yeah they both use the same chord progression but so do many other songs like it so you might as well go after those songs and artists too. The point I’m trying to make here is that there are a lot of formulas people use to make music and it has worked for as long as popular music has been around so there are bound to be songs that unintentionally sound alike. And artists have always been taking inspiration from other artists they love and putting that style into their own music so you have to draw the line somewhere.

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  3. Honestly, the hate is still overrated. Sorry, but even though I will agree that the song does give out rapey vibes, it isn’t as bad as people make it out to be. It’s not exactly good, but not the worst thing ever. I’ll tell you why you liked the song, because of the beat, that’s why I liked it as well. That’s why it was a #1 hit and the song of the summer in 2013 despite the controversy. I will say while Got To Give It Up is a much better song and has better lyrics. Yes, I will concede that the lyrics can put off a lot of people and that the whole “steal your man” trope is overdone and has almost never been a good trope. Personally for me, I have bigger fish to fry. The one thing that does kind of piss me off is that it kept Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” off the top spot, a song Pharrell was also featured in. For me, if you’re going to go after this song, you may as well go after every other misogynistic rap and R&B song out there, which says even worse things than this song ever did. Honestly, it would be a great thing if it did happen because people have allowed all these artists to get away with all this stuff for so long, they deserve to be called out on for all those disgusting lyrics, not just on those two genres, but on every genre. If I’m being honest, for me it isn’t really the backlash this song got that pisses me off, it’s the fact that it was only this song and nothing else that has gotten as much backlash. This came out the same year as much more deplorable songs like Lil’ Wayne’s “Love Me” or Rocko’s U.O.E.N.O. came out, and no one batted an eye at that crap aside from Rick Ross losing his deal with Reebok. Blurred Lines only got the hate it got because it was everywhere and a #1 hit. That’s kind of why I don’t hate the song that much, because the song is overhated, and it’s really the one singular song to get as much backlash as it did and that kind of turns me off. I get it, the song is still demeaning to women, but where’s the backlash for all those rap and R&B songs that demean women even more? I’ll tell you, jack shit nowhere. Reason being is that hip hop for the most part isn’t as everywhere as pop crossover songs, those genres stay to themselves and aren’t exposed in mainstream media as much, and the fans of those genres couldn’t give a rat’s ass about the lyrics, which is no excuse. To be fair though, this song would have never caught on in the #MeToo era we’re currently in, no matter how catchy the song was. And I get it, I’m not trying to discredit the backlash and say it wasn’t rapey or misogynistic because it was. What I am saying that is that if you’re going to come after a song, you should go after pretty much every song with this same topic, not just a singular song and demand that things get better. Blurred Lines is tame stuff compared to that. Until then, we’re not gonna get change. People need to be held accountable for what they listen to and should themselves hold the artists accountable for the content they make, that’s how things change. Basically, what I said in my piece on whether people should listen to a bad person’s music or not. That’s my whole view on this song and the backlash it’s gotten.

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      1. I actually really like your comment Leo. Yeah, it can come as creepy but honestly, 2013 had worst songs promoting bad implications like Rick Ross’ line about drugging a woman with molly in her champagne and pretty much the entirety of Love Me by Lil Wayne which had a worst music video.

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  4. Man was this song everywhere in 2013. I remember Blurred Line being played a lot as well as the controversies surrounding it in regards to whether it was promoting rape, the music video, and the Marvin Gaye lawsuit. At the time, I didn’t think much about the lyrical implications despite how much talked about it was mainly since I was 14 then so obviously I wasn’t aware of all the issues of consent, rape, and sexual violence as I am now. Plus, I wasn’t paying that much attention to popular music the way I am now. Really it’s the beat that made the song. I remember DJs playing this song at dances back then and people would just get up and dance enjoying the song not thinking about the lyrical implications. I even remember dancing to this song in 2013 at my high school’s homecoming dance freshman year with a senior girl so at least I have a fun memory to look back at with this song. Listening to it now, I will say the beat is easily the best part of the song. If you choose to turn your brain off to the lyrics, it works as a fun song to jam out and dance to. And I don’t agree with the court ruling that it copied Got To Give It Up. While Blurred Lines was going for the same feel as the Marvin Gaye song, it doesn’t mean it’s a straight rip-off. As someone who plays and understands music, almost everyone works someone else’s styles or chord progressions into their own music. There’s a difference between being inspired by another artist’s work and outright stealing it for your music. As for the rest of the song, yeah it’s a very sleazy pick up song and Robin Thicke comes across as someone who doesn’t understand boundaries and consent. T.I. contributes a filler verse and Pharrell is actually the best performer on the song even if it’s a waste of his talents and isn’t doing much outside of the intro and saying “woo” throughout but it’s still fun to imitate. And that music video was very stupid and very cheaply made. And with the #MeToo movement in effect, I can’t imagine how this song would get big now so it was lucky that it got big in 2013 and not 2017 and after. Even Pharrell has said that he regrets being a part of the song and understands the dangerous implications it gives off. To give Blurred Lines credit, at least it’s not Robin Thicke’s follow up Give It 2 U which sucks so much more that it makes this song sound like a masterpiece. I think it’s a good thing that we didn’t give Robin Thicke a career after Blurred Lines especially after he ended up humiliating himself with his Paula album. As for the song, I haven’t heard it much since its peak popularity and I think with the way society is now it’s not going to have a very kind legacy. If I ever listen to it in the future, it would mainly be out of nostalgia and remembering how we allowed songs like this to get big. But at least it gave us Word Crimes which is way better than Blurred Lines to the point where I prefer listening to the Weird Al parody than the original. Good review!

    On the topic of Blurred Lines, here’s a review I was reading a couple weeks ago about The Rolling Stones’ Brown Sugar from a column that reviews number one hit songs. Brown Sugar is in a way the 70s version of Blurred Lines: a number one hit song with disturbing implications about sex but has a good enough groove to make you forget about it. I’ve always known what the lyrics mean but always liked it for the fun groove and as a Rolling Stones fan. I know you said you liked the song when I asked you about it on your 1971 list but maybe reading this review will change your mind and get you to do a Target Practice on Brown Sugar. Pretty interesting read.
    https://www.stereogum.com/2029999/the-number-ones-the-rolling-stones-brown-sugar/franchises/the-number-ones/

    Also did you see the trailer for the new Yesterday movie? I’m looking forward to it and I find the premise interesting of living in a world where The Beatles never happened.

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