Everything about Robin Thicke's album "Paula" (Star Trak/Interscope) is a bad idea.
Thicke has decided to follow-up all his "Blurred Lines" success with an album of oddly personal love songs designed to win back his high school sweetheart and wife of nine years, actress Paula Patton. To make matters worse, the first single, "Get Her Back" -- a genuine-sounding love ballad/mea culpa that is really the only strong song on this strangely haphazard album -- has a ridiculous video that features what may or may not be text messages exchanged by the couple during their breakup. Because nothing makes a celebrity relationship, especially one that includes a 4-year-old son, stronger than airing your fights in public, right?
The video makes the whole "concept" of "Paula" feel like a marketing ploy for a lackluster album, which may or may not be the case. "I thought everyone was going to eat the chip, turns out I'm the only one who double-dipped" is a terrible line, regardless of the context. When placed in the middle of "Black Tar Cloud," where Thicke alleges threatening fights and a fake suicide attempt in their relationship, it makes the whole song and its faux-soul call-and-response almost laughable.
The James Brown-ish soul of "Living in New York City" shows how wasteful much of "Paula" is. It's got a great groove, Thicke's voice sounds good, but it's built on nonsense like "America! It's time we go!"
"Paula" is a wasted opportunity for the talented Thicke on basically every level. He should plot out his next moves much more carefully.
THE GRADE C-
BOTTOM LINE Half-baked pop album as public apology.