I Can't Call It: "Love After War" - Robin Thicke

Posted On Monday, December 26, 2011

What do Hall and Oats, Teena Marie, Bobby Caldwell, Michael McDonald, Joss Stone, Amy Winehouse, Adele, Duffy, Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilerra, Lewis Taylor, Ani Difranco, the Sneaker Pimps and Robin Thicke all have in common? They’re all some of my favorite artists and oh yeah…they’re all white. See, I never did the whole “blue eyed soul” thing. If you’re nice, you’re nice. I don’t care about if you’re black or white and all of that other hoopla. All I care about is that you’re dope. And one of my up and coming favorites out that crew I just named is my dude Robin Thicke. I first got put onto money when I heard Pharell was signing a white dude to his Star Trak label. I figured he’d just be the token white gut EVERY label was signing at the time (it seemed like it was affirmative action for white singers/rappers) and I didn’t think much of him. Then I heard he was Alan Thicke’s son and I’m like “Alan Thicke from Growing Pains?" Now I’m REALLY not checking for money! That is til I saw Lil Wayne’s video for “Shooter” featuring Robin Thicke and I peeped dude wasn’t that bad. Then after I copped his sophomore album “The Evolution of Robin Thicke” (which at the time I thought was his debut album) I could actually now say I was now checking for Mr. Growing Pain Jr’s music. (It was gonna take more than “The Evolution…” for him to drop that tag) Now, after his next album “Something Else” dropped (my personal favorite of his albums) I could now say I was officially a fan of dude so the “Mr. Growing Pains Jr.” moniker got dropped. Now the problem comes when his next album “Sex Therapy” dropped…and I absolutely HATED it! It’s like he lost his soul on that album and thought he was a rapper for a minute. And whenever an artist switches their steez 180 degrees like that….9 times outta 10 it’s a wrap for me checking for them again and that’s the exact position Mr. Growing Pain Jr. (yup, the moniker was back) found himself back in all over again. That is until I heard his new single “Pretty Lil Heart” featuring ‘Lil Wayne from his new album “Love After War.” Could it be true? Has Mr. Growing Pains Jr. come back to his senses?

And the answer to that question is a resounding yes. Mr. Paula Patton (yeah, another moniker) has come back home to soul music. The album sets off with “An Angel On Each Arm” and “Animal” which are both on an up tempo rock vibe. “Never Give Up” has a dope message but the music sounds like a twist between the musical "Oliver" and one of my daughter’s favorite movies "Tinker Bell in Pixie Hollow." Every time I hear this song I’m just waiting for Oliver to jump out the speaker and start singing “I’d do anything…” but thankfully Robin brings it back to basics with the Marvin Gaye inspired “Love After War” which is just flat out beautiful and the Doobie Brother/Michael McDonald vibe on “All Tied Up” which is crazy too. “Pretty Lil Heart” featuring Lil Wayne is SO dope that Robin gets a “Common pass” (I’ve forgiven Common for those 2 wack albums “Electric Circus” and “Universal Mind Control”) for that “Sex Therapy” album and “Mission” is that slow seductive slow jam that EVERY album needs. “Boring” keeps the cool out vibe going and with lines like “no need to spend my birthday with all my friends in New York City (boring)/no need to have floor seats/7 game Celtics and Kobe (boring)” he lets Paula know that no matter what the event is, it’s boring compared to being with her. “I Don’t Know How It Feels to Be You” and “Cloud 9” is Robin at his best and “What Would I Be” ends the album on a perfect note.

So, with Robin back to his senses and nothing but good music on tap it would seem that “Love After War” should be knocking “Something Else” out the box as my favorite Robin Thicke album right? Wrong. My main beef with “Love After War” is it simply has TOO many songs. I don’t know when the trend for artists to give us 16+ songs came into style but I wish it would get played out because TOO many artist have the problem of giving us more and it ends up hurting them in the end. If Robin would’ve checked in with 12 songs, we’d be listening to one of the best R&B albums of the past couple of years. But there’s just too much music on this album that easily falls into background music category. See, there are songs that catch your attention and will stop a conversation immediately because they’re so good. And then there are other songs that start the conversation back up, not because they’re not good but because they’re simply background music and there are too many of those on “Love After War.” But at the end of the day the good thing is at least money got me to stop calling him “Mr. Growing Pain Jr.” or “Mr. Paula Paton” AGAIN! Let’s just hope with his next album he can keep it that way…

4 outta 5

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