ALBUM REVIEW: Robin Thicke – Something Else

After aligning with the legendary Andre Harrell at only 16, Thicke might have expected a smooth road to success. To the contrary, his first album took forever to see release, came out twice with two different names and was more or less ignored. A cosign from Pharrell wasn’t an instant fix, but after “Lost Without You” caught on with pop, urban and adult contemporary radio all at once (good lookin’ out, Oprah) Thicke finally received some recognition. For the first time, Robin is releasing an album with a large fan base already in place. As a result, there’s a certain confidence in the choices he’s made for Something Else but enough quality to show that he isn’t taking his success for granted. It isn’t drastically different from either of Thicke’s first albums, but it’s hard to call that a bad thing. Tracks like the Motown inspired single “Magic” aren’t a surprise, but the ease with which he presents them shows that he’s less worried about whether or not someone will hear them.Thicke has always had a talent for paying tribute to his influences without outright stealing from them (such as the Brit-rock flavored “Shadow of a Doubt”) and once again, he smoothly glides between styles while retaining his own sensibility. In addition, Evolution featured a glut of songs from an artist who was overeager to express himself, but Something Else’s shorter, tighter tracklist leaves you wanting more. Now, Thicke focuses on getting the most mileage out of the individual efforts rather than doing every trick in his book. There are some energetic moments worth mentioning (the title track, in particular), but Thicke does seem to be missing a bit of his edge. He’s typically a sly lyricist, injecting humor into his lines without coming off as silly. Robin often even stitches little jokes into the musical side of his compositions, and while that isn’t completely gone, it does seem to have been ratcheted back a bit.It’s nice to see an artist come back quickly after a huge single and still deliver a quality follow-up. Admittedly, Something Else isn’t quite as captivating as much of his past work has been, but that’s certainly not to say that it isn’t quite good. More to the point, Thicke has achieved a fairly rare feat and again made an album that young music snobs and their mothers can both enjoy, even if for different reasons.Magic – Robin Thicke

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