Album Review: Robin Thicke, “A Beautiful World” (2003)

Robin Thicke has been in the music business for years. He’s produced songs for several artists, including Christina Aguilera, Nsync, and Jordan Knight. In 2003, he released his solo debut A Beautiful World.

The album is an eclectic mix of pop, rock, funk and soul. Even though Thicke doesn’t seem to be getting a lot of mainstream play, he’s definitely talented, and will hopefully be around for a second album.

The album starts off with “Oh Shooter” a track about a bank robbery. The sound is a mix of funk and pop and Thicke’s vocals (as in many of the others songs) are reminiscent of D’angelo.  Thicke takes a tongue-in-cheek approach “A Beautiful World”, a song about today’s society. It seems that he’s attempting to create an update of Lennon’s classic, Imagine. He doesn’t nearly reach that caliber, but with lyrics like “I need a reason to smile today/People are pregnant and underpaid/I don’t know/If learning is worth the time/So sometimes I just don’t/It’s such a beautiful world…” he ends up with a great title track, anyway.

Thicke experiments with more funk music in “Suga Mama”, a song about a woman pursuing him with gifts. The song itself is pretty forgettable, but while listening to it, it’s fairly enjoyable. Thicke steps away from his current funk/soul/pop routine, and touches into the kind of music named two-step with “Flowers in Bloom.” The sappy lyrics placed over a thumping beat and piano makes for the perfect song to mellow out to.

“When I Get You Alone” (the first single) is the first upbeat, dance track to appear on the album. Thicke samples “Fifth of Beethoven” and the result is a great funk song that should’ve been released in the eighties. I bought the album based on this song alone, so obviously I’m a fan.  All production is stripped down to simple piano and Thicke’s vocals on “The Stupid Things.” The song is one of my favorites, due to the earnest lyrics and Thicke’s heartfelt delivery. Here, Thicke has a way of making you feel as if he’s your boyfriend apologizing once again for all the stupid things that he’s done.

“I’m A Be Alright” was definitely one that grew on me. On the first few listens, this song comes off as OK, but slightly boring. After a few listens the song becomes more likeable due to the cheery chorus and amusing lyrics like, “Can’t get a job/Cause I ain’t been looking for one/…But I still got my mind/Still got my music, baby/I’m a be alright”.  One of the best tracks on the album, “Brand New Jones” is a song about being single and unattached and loving it. Unlike the majority of songs on the radio now, Thicke seems to be highly enjoying the single life with his “love ’em and leave ’em” attitude. You don’t necessarily have to agree with his point of view to not love this bouncy and upbeat R&B song.

Thicke experiments with Latin music on “Vengas Conmigo.” I have a sort of “so what?” attitude when it comes to this song. The chorus, which is completely in Spanish, is pretty catchy, but the rest of the song isn’t all that interesting. The album begins to go downhill after this track.

“Flex” is probably one of the worst songs on the album. Thicke fails to create a catchy tune or even interesting lyrics on this song. It’s not all that horrible, because it is listenable, but it’s just a disappointment after the songs before it.  And just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse…. “Make A Baby” comes along.  Actually this song reminds me of something that The Monkees would sing. The song’s a bit absurd, but again, it’s still listenable, which is saying a lot compared to some of the really bad tracks on other albums.

“She’s Gangsta” puts an end to the mediocre filler songs. Here, Thicke returns to a funk-type feel, and the result is an addictive chorus and great beat. Another one of my favorites on the album. I’m on the fence when it comes to “Lazy Bones.” I don’t particularly like listening to it, but I do like the lyrics, so I listen to it anyway, just to hear the lyrics. Thicke raps on this song, which he actually pulls off quite well, but then it goes into the chorus, which I find annoying for some reason.

For “Cherry Blue Skies”, Thicke’s influence seems to be a mix of the late Jimmy Hendrix when it comes to his use of electric guitar, and Lenny Kravitz in the vocal department, which comes off sounding pretty cool. Anyway, this song is definitely a stand-out track on the album, and a great end to the disc. The song could be classified as rock, but mellows out in the chorus as Thicke sings “But it’s never too late to try/To get on the same side/Get on the same side/It’s Cherry Blue Skies”. He presents an anti-hate message here, much like Boomkat does on their debut album Boomkatalog.One. And much like Left Side/Right Side, I think it’s a great idea.

Robin Thicke’s “A Beautiful World” boasts a diverse sound, and a couple of great songs.  Despite the few bad tracks towards the end which bring the album down a little, this is a great debut album that I’m sure I’ll be listening to for years to come.

Rating: 200px-4_stars.svg

Track Listing
1. Oh Shooter
2. A Beautiful World
3. Suga Mama
4. Flowers in Bloom
5. When I Get You Alone
6. The Stupid Things
7. I’m a Be Alright
8. Brand New Jones
9. Vengas Conmigo – (Spanish)
10. Flex
11. Make a Baby
12. She’s Gangsta
13. Lazy Bones
14. Cherry Blue Skies


*This is a brittpinkie “classic” review. I have edited this review for content and formatting, though retained my original opinion of the product.


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