Love After War
It’s been a year of renewed Otis Redding worship. First there was Kanye/Jay-Z’s “Otis” (and Das Racist also made a reference in the title track of their most recent record). And now vocal shape-shifter and soul chameleon Robin Thicke is sounding sweet and gruff on his new one, doing that velvety shout that Redding perfected. Thicke ably imitated Michael Jackson and Marvin Gaye on his 2009 release Sex Therapy. As with R. Kelly, another of Thicke’s obvious inspirations, there’s an abiding weirdness. Thicke’s “New Generation,” which despite all the things that you could point to as signs of things going to hell, insists that the world is getting better. Channeling his inner Michael McDonald, with a mix of blue-eyed-soul and yacht-rock, the title track seems to be about makeup sex, as much as it might also be about transcending our warrior instincts. When Thicke applies the smoothness with maximum, well, thickness, it’s a good effect. “Cloud 9” isn’t exactly a holiday song, but with its billowy jazzy guitars and Thicke’s candy-cane vocal turns, it might as well be. “Never Give Up” is impressive in terms of shear bombast, with its soaring Beethoven-ish classical background. Thicke doesn’t aim for depth, but his surface fizz is plenty entertaining.
CD of the Week: Robin Thicke, 'Love After War'
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