Robin Thicke says his home life provided a bit of quality control for his forthcoming album “Blurred Line,” which has already spawned a Billboard 100 chart-topper in the title track.
“My wife (Paula Patton) and I would hang out at the end of the night, and I would play her the songs I was working on and we would dance around and be so happy,” Thicke tells Billboard. “And then some of my sadder and more depressing songs would come on, and we would always want to go back to the top and keep dancing and having a good time. So I think I just ended up making an escape album. I never plan it, but I think I did my best to make my wife and I have a chance to escape every night, and I felt like that made for a great album.”
The more downbeat fare, he says, went by the wayside, even though “those are easier for me to write because I’ve always kind of used music to deal with whatever issues are going on in my life and in my heart, so I’ve always tended to write more of the diary-type songs. But the songs I ended up keeping, I had a better time listening got them than some of the other ones, so that’s where we headed.”
Thicke says he invoked a soul legend for “Blurred Lines’ ” title track, which is his first No. 1 single.
“Pharrell and I were in the studio making a couple records, and then on the third day I told him I wanted to do something kinda like Marvin Gaye’s ‘Got To Give It Up,’ that kind of feel ’cause it’s one of my favorite songs of all time. So he started messing with some drums and then he started going ‘Hey, hey hey..’ and about an hour and a half later we had the whole record finished.”
That was in August of 2012, Thicke says, while T.I.’s feature came into being “once we decided were going to make a video” — a clip that finds Thicke, T.I. and Pharrell flirting with topless models and with, he says, Patton’s blessing.
Thicke also expanded his collaboration ranks on “Blurred Lines” — which is due out July 30 — working not only with longtime cohort Pharrell but also adding Dr. Luke (“Give It 2 U,” featuring Kendrick Lamar), Timbaland (“Take It Easy On Me”) and will.i.am (“Go Stupid 4 U,” “Feel Good” and Give It 2 U”).
“I’ve always kind of come from the band model; I’ve always tried to make records I could duplicate with a four-or five-piece band, so there’s still that kind of core feeling on some of the songs,” Thicke explains. “But when you work with some of these other producers, they’re about pushing the sonics forward and into the next realm and the next level. It inspires me in a the way they can do things I wouldn’t even think to do.”
The track “Ain’t No Hat 4 That,” meanwhile, was co-written with his father, actor Alan Thicke.
The younger Thicke says he and his camp “plan to take our time” before touring in earnest to support “Blurred Lines.”
“We’re gonna try to just do promotion the rest of the year, and then we’re gonna do some European tours and we’re not gonna tour here in the States ’til next year,” he says. “There’s so many opportunities for promotions and radio stations and people that have never seen me before, so we’re really gonna focus on just getting out there, and hopefully by next spring we’ll be ready to put on a real U.S. tour.”