It's clear from Robin Thicke's latest effort, Something Else, that Thicke, like so many other soul singers these days, has a longing for the kind of music that has been scarce in the last few years. The album is contemplative, deftly written, and earnestly delivered, while the production, most of which was handled by Thicke alongside a trusted team of regular partners, is pretty damn sweet (nice to actually hear an album where live instrumentation outnumbers synthy tracks). Robin's obviously studied the classics, in addition to Marvin Gaye ("Ms. Harmony") the music on Something Else at times conjures visions of Stevie Wonder ("The Sweetest Love"), Michael Jackson ("Something Else") and even the Rolling Stones ("Shadow of Doubt"). While I'd probably argue that the Evolution of Robin Thicke made for a better bedtime listening, Something Else flows between past and present much more smoothly than Raphael Saadiq's The Way I See It, while also managing to nail that balance of ballad and upbeat where Usher 's Here I Stand fell short. Oh and kudos to Robin for not flooding the album with unnecessary collabos. In the interest of full disclosure, aside from my favorites (see below), this album didn't go down easy on the first listen and Robin's voice isn't always butter smooth; but to call Something Else simply a good album wouldn't be doing it justice.
Verdict: Different isn't always better, but in Robin Thicke's case, if you're not satisfied with the radio, Something Else should do the trick.
My Faves: "Loverman" "Dreamworld," "Ms. Harmony," "Cry No More"
Not-My-Faves: "Sidestep," "Something Else"
I want to send a special shoutout to Skye, Sally & Briana, the winners of our Robin Thicke Something Else Giveaway. Also thanks to everyone else that entered. Check back for more giveaways in the future.
With Wino clearly succumbing to her pipedreams and Joss Stone f*cking for tracks, I've been looking to Welsh singer Duffy to fulfill the white girl with soul vacancy for the British. Unfortunately it sounds like homegirl is overwhelmed by the whole fame thing. Duffy recently admitted to harboring fears of a nervous breakdown because her newfound success (thanks to her album Rockferry and hit singles "Mercy" and "Warwick Avenue") is overbearing at times.
"The scary thing is that this feels to me like just the beginning," Duffy told the Western Mail newspaper. "I'm borderline on a nervous breakdown."
"I used to make music when no-one had heard of me and there was nothing else going on in my life," she continued. "As a girl I thought I was super-human but there are pressures about being public in what I do. All the doubts I have are of myself. Can I handle this? Do I want to disappear?"
Granted, she's only 24 so it's pretty natural that the singer is struggling with the pressure a bit. Thankfully she's smart enough to realize what an opportunity she has and has decided to continue touring the world, even if it's simply for the sake of her music.
"It would be wrong for me to disappear," she said. "I have to go and play for the fans. It's not about selling the product, it's about doing it right for the people who have bought it.
"I can't not go to Italy because I have to live up to it [the album]. And the way the record sold in the US, I want to go there and follow that up too. I don't just want to sell records, so many people just sell records. I want to make my music exist as a living thing."
I don't want to beat up on Duffy too much, what she's feeling has got to be natural. Shied, even Rihanna had that deer in headlights look after she dropped her album and just look at how well she's handling it these days. Let's just hope Duffy does better than Joss and Wino and doesn't get caught up in sex or drugs to alleviate the pressure (just jokes, kinda)!
While we're on the subject, quick poll - who is your favorite UK singer? Leona Lewis? Duffy? Joss Stone? Amy Winehouse? Lily Allen? Estelle? Adele? Talk to me y'all!!!