For about four minutes and 30 seconds in 2013, Robin Thicke was on top of the world. Then everybody finished listening to “Blurred Lines” for the first time, and reality started to set in. Some people got sick of the song right away, some kept listening to it because they foolishly thought it was better than Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky,” and some people decided that the song sounded a little too similar to Marvin Gaye’s “Got To Give It Up.” Unfortunately for Thicke (and co-writer Pharrell, though he’s not really relevant to this story), Gaye’s family fell into that third group and filed a lawsuit against everyone behind “Blurred Lines.” Around this time, Thicke’s wife, actress Paula Patton, finally got around to seeing the video for “Blurred Lines” and her husband’s MTV Video Music Awards performance with Miley Cyrus—not to mention a famous photo of him grabbing some woman’s butt in an elevator—and decided to file for divorce.
Thicke’s next album, Paula, was a passionate plea for his wife to come back to him, but she was unmoved by his cries for reconciliation. Also, the album sold poorly and everybody hated it. Finally, the proverbial cherry on top of Thicke’s terrible two-year sundae came this past March, when a jury in Los Angeles decided that Thicke and Pharrell would have to pay Marvin Gaye’s family $7.4 million for ripping off “Got To Give It Up”—intentionally or not. Then, Robin Thicke mercifully returned to whatever shadowy part of Canada he crawled out of, and he was never heard from again.
Until now! Thick recently returned from his self-imposed exile to give an interview to The New York Times, and though he still sounds like a bit of a dick, at least he’s more at peace with the fact that he’s a bit of a dick. The bulk of the interview revolves around the “Blurred Lines” lawsuit, with Thicke once again stating that he can’t be too responsible for the song since he was super high when it was recorded, but he also says that he was a little preoccupied thinking about his wife leaving him to really focus on what was happening during the trial. (So it’s not his fault that the song is a ripoff, and it’s not his fault that they lost that lawsuit.)
As a fun game, the NYT also brings up a number of other popular songs that have faced similar rip-off accusations, and, oddly, Thicke has no problem agreeing that “Uptown Funk” is “the exact same” song as “Oops Up Side Your Head,” or that “Stay With Me” has “the same notes, on the same timing, in the same rhythm” as “I Won’t Back Down.” Still, though, Thicke says he can’t be blamed for any similarities between his songs and anyone else’s songs, because “they happen in five minutes.” He says he just sits at his piano, and the song “pours right out,” so it’s not up to him if any of them sound like pre-existing songs.
Thicke doesn’t talk about the Paula album or his ex-wife much, but he does say that his “team” didn’t want him to release it at all, and the record company only agreed to it because of how hard he kept pushing. In retrospect, he says he wishes he hadn’t “promoted it or sold it” and just posted it for free somewhere. “That,” according to Thicke, “would have kept the purity of the message intact.” Lucky for him, nobody bought it anyway.