Robin Thicke has come a long way from the long hair/don’t care days of his decadent debut A Beautiful World. Evolving from his last name moniker ‘Thicke’ to giving us his full-title and exposure, his sensational sophomore release The Evolution Of Robin Thicke became an instant classic thanks to an awesome new sound that sounded something like a young Elton John meeting the world of R&B and hits like Got 2 Be Down, Wanna Love You Girl and Shooter, featuring Faith Evans, Pharrell and Lil’ Wayne respectively to go along with the beautiful introspections of 2 The Sky, Angels and Lonely World. Since then, Thicke has worked with all sorts of people from Lil’ Wayne to Will Smith and Usher to Mary J. Blige.
He’s also released more great albums like the sublime Something Else and the creative concept album Sex Therapy that really was something else. Soon this megastar will be joining his beautiful actress wife Paula Patton on Hollywood’s biggest screens, but now he joins fellow actor/singer Tyrese, Carl Thomas and Anthony Hamilton by releasing an album (Love After War) to close out the fall, joining these mature R&B stars with his own significant status seated next to the greats of the modern, soul music day.
After his experience with the ‘Sex Therapy’ sessions, Robin goes back to his traditional, hallmark piano-perfect, poetic songs with Love After War. The album’s lead single of the same name shows just how great this man’s own unique style is. As he bares his soul over Marvin Gaye influences and beats of his own heart he singles out one of the best records of his career. His second single Pretty Lil’ Heart is no small number either. It’s a real good look to the start of this album. A track that once again shows the chemistry between frequent collaborators Thicke and Lil’ Wayne, who last collaborated on the New Orleans rappers introspective look on Hurricane Katrina (Tie My Hands) off Tha Carter III.
Love After War begins with the beautiful, spiritual ballad An Angel on Each Arm, before unleashing I’m an Animal, Never Give Up and the powerful The New Generation from this young pop prince. Robin then writes with Mary J. Blige as they wrap together seamlessly on the track All Tied Up. The husband of ‘Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol’ star Paula Patton cruises on the cool Mission before he sheds more introspective suited ballads on Tears on My Tuxedo. As Robin harmonises “Don’t make me close my heart on all your bad news./You got me breaking all my rules,” he moves as well as soothes his audience and muse with his music and lyrics.
The track Boring is anything but, while Lovely Lady, Dangerous and Full Time Believer evoke more energy and emotion from the solo, soul man. I Don’t Know How It Feels To Be U takes a closer look at the singer’s love for women, while Cloud 9 takes Love After War even higher. The Lil’ Things and What Would I Be? close out this CD perfectly without question before this album goes deluxe. It really is the little things. Stupid Things, the direct Compass or Map and the close closer We A Family bring everything together perfectly. The war is over for Thicke to end this album and it’s clear it’s all about love. How can anyone hate that? It’s clear this man’s heart will be in soul for a long time to come. TIM DAVID HARVEY.