Song of the Day #2,013: ‘Blurred Lines’ – Robin Thicke

blurred_linesPlease welcome guest blogger Dana…

Dana’s Best Songs of 2013
Robin Thicke – ‘Blurred Lines’

 
Well, those who read our back and forth on your blog had to have known, just as you did, that this song would make an appearance.:)

Here’s another example of a song I love from radio play, but have not bought the album, nor do I intend to do so. I have heard a few of the other tracks from the album and they were far weaker than this mega-hit.

So, why do I love this song? Arguably, according to my daughter, I shouldn’t because of its sexist and “rapey” lyrics. However, I don’t see the song as being sexist or “rapey” and I truly don’t think Thicke intended it to come across that way, nor do I think the record company would have supported an overtly sexist song.

My take on the lyrics is that the song is about female empowerment over sexuality. The strongest evidence can be found in the lines from the second verse:

OK now he was close, tried to domesticate you
But you’re an animal, baby, it’s in your nature
Just let me liberate you
You don’t need no papers

That man is not your maker

Sounds more like female empowerment than sexist to me. Now, admittedly other portions of the lyrics are a bit harder to defend against charges of sexism and downright misogyny, particularly T.I.’s rap break with lines like “I’ll give you something big enough to tear your ass in two.”

And, of course, the video doesn’t help my defense of the song either so much, though, let’s face it, sex and nudity sells, and there are valid arguments that women choosing to strip or appear naked on film are reflecting sexual empowerment, not contributing to sexism.

But, all the lyrical controversy aside, this song isn’t on my list because of those lyrics or the video (well, maybe a little bit because of the video). The song merits a place on the list because it may well be the funkiest, sexiest song I have heard since Prince’s ‘Kiss.’ Of course, it is no coincidence that both songs borrow (and in the case of Thicke’s song, arguably directly lift) from the godfather of soul, Mr. James Brown.

The bottom line is that the song is infectious and irresistible and, lyrical objections aside, it is hard to imagine anyone not being drawn in by it.

[Intro/Outro: Pharrell & Robin Thicke]
Everybody get up, WOO!
Hey, hey, hey
Hey, hey, hey
Hey, hey, hey
[Verse 1: Robin Thicke]
If you can’t hear what I’m trying to say
If you can’t read from the same page
Maybe I’m going deaf
Maybe I’m going blind
Maybe I’m out of my mind

[Bridge: Robin Thicke]
Ok, now he was close
Tried to domesticate you
But you’re an animal
Baby, it’s in your nature
Just let me liberate you
You don’t need no papers
That man is not your maker
And that’s why I’m gon’ take a

[Hook: Robin Thicke]
Good girl
I know you want it
I know you want it
I know you want it
You’re a good girl
Can’t let it get past me
You’re far from plastic
Talk about getting blasted
I hate these blurred lines
I know you want it
I know you want it
I know you want it
But you’re a good girl
The way you grab me
Must wanna get nasty
Go ahead, get at me

[Verse 2: Robin Thicke]
What do they make dreams for
When you got them jeans on
What do we need steam for
You the hottest bitch in this place
I feel so lucky, you wanna hug me
What rhymes with hug me
Hey!

[Bridge: Robin Thicke]
Ok, now he was close
Tried to domesticate you
But you’re an animal
Baby, it’s in your nature
Just let me liberate you
You don’t need no papers
That man is not your maker
And that’s why I’m gon’ take a

[Hook: Robin Thicke]

[Verse 3: T.I.]
Hustle Gang Homie
One thing I ask of you
Lemme be the one you back that ass up to
From Malibu to Paris boo
Had a bitch, but she ain’t bad as you
So, hit me up when you pass through
I’ll give you something big enough to tear your ass in two
Swag on ‘em even when you dress casual
I mean, it’s almost unbearable
In a hundred years not dare would I
Pull a Pharcyde bitch, you’re passing me by
Nothin’ like your last guy, he too square for you
He don’t smack that ass and pull your hair for you
So I’m just watching and waiting
For you to salute the truly pimping
Not many women can refuse this pimping
I’m a nice guy, but don’t get confused, you gettin it

[Breakdown: Robin Thicke]
Shake your rump
Get down, get up-a
Do it like it hurt, like it hurt
What you don’t like work
Hey!

[Verse 4: Robin Thicke]
Baby, can you breathe
I got this from Jamaica
It always works for me
Dakota to Decatur
No more pretending
Cause now you’re winning
Here’s our beginning
I always wanted a

[Hook: Robin Thicke]

[Bridge: Pharrell [Robin Thicke]]
Everybody get up
Everybody get up
Everybody get up
Hey, Hey, Hey
Hey, Hey, Hey
Hey, Hey, Hey

[Outro: Pharrell & Robin Thicke]

9 thoughts on “Song of the Day #2,013: ‘Blurred Lines’ – Robin Thicke

  1. Dana says:

    Not sure if your selection of this clip from Ellen was intended to support my argument that the song is not sexist, but I think it certainly helps to underscore the point, Ellen couldn’t be more effusive and complimentary at the end of the performance. It also helps my argument that this version leaves out the far more questionable rap.😃

  2. Clay says:

    (Note: I used a live clip because I’ve featured the studio version of the song on the blog already)

    Now this song I know, as I think everybody alive last year does.

    It didn’t miss my list because it’s misogynistic or rapey — and I agree with you that it isn’t really either of those things.

    It just isn’t the sort of music (read: R&B) that I gravitate toward or appreciate much.

    • Amy says:

      I am curious how you interpret the lyrics, as this song has been the source of much strong debate in our household over the past several months. I am with Dana; I don’t think Ellen would ever support and feature a song she found objectified women, so I’m glad that’s the live cut of the song you chose to feature.

      I adore the song, and I love the many very clever satires that various women have made of it. I’m comfortable supporting both the song and the subversion of it. At this point, however, we cannot listen to the song if Maddie is within listening distance 😦 So… readers, what say you?

  3. Andrea Katz says:

    As an old fan of James Brown, I was interested in more explanation of the connection you made. Elaborate, please, guest blogger 🙂

    • Amy says:

      It’s not James Brown but Marvin Gaye who Thicke arguably “directly lifts” from; in fact, in breaking news, the studio settled with Gaye’s estate, demonstrating that they thought there was a good chance they might lose if they went to court – http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/blurred-lines-lawsuit-sony-atv-670559

      • Dana says:

        For clarification, at least according to the article, the studio settled to get themselves out of the uncomfortable conflicted position of determining the copyright issues with the estate. It seems that the battle rages on between Thicke and Gaye’s estate and, according to the article, Thicke wants a jury to decide that he didn’t commit copyright infringement.

    • Dana says:

      Amy beat me to the punch with the correction. It is Marvin Gaye, not James Brown. Gaye’s song was called “Got to Give It Up.”

  4. Andrea Katz says:

    Is it the funk?

  5. pegclifton says:

    Well, I think the beat is really cool, and that Ellen’s endorsement of the song gives it some credibility as far as being sexist goes; that said, however, I think there are lines that certainly sound misogynistic and sexist; You have already pointed them out in your commentary so I won’t elaborate.

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