We all remember the tirades Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines resulted in. For a good reason, really. As catchy as it was – and I can’t deny it would get me tapping my feet on the floor – it was essentially a rape anthem. This week he is due to release a new album titled Paula – a stalker-ish quest to reconcile with his wife, evidently mistaken for a romantic gesture.
I’m all for grand gestures. Long stem roses and weekend getaways to Paris may sound corny and cliche, but they’re kinda sweet, too. Music videos of bloodied faces, private text messages appearing on screen however… well, that’s not sweet. It’s creepy and inappropriate. Not even in a way that you’d laugh awkwardly and think, “I shouldn’t be witnessing this.” More in a way that if it were happening to you or your best friend, you’d be on busy trying to get a restraining order. It is not a grand gesture if you wash your dirty laundry in front of the whole world. It’s not intimate and vulnerable, both of which are words to describe Thicke’s latest video. It’s harassment.
For all I know, Paula Patton might be into this kinda thing. We know nothing of their relationship. Maybe she doesn’t feel threatened. Maybe it’s just play for them, maybe they get off on things like that. But, Thicke’s demeanour is that of an abusive man. Pointing a finger at his head and mimicking suicide is a threat. Emotional blackmail if you will. By doing that, he’s saying, “If you don’t come back to me, I’ll harm myself.” Whatever the behind the scenes of their actual relationship, glorifying this behaviour is not ok. I don’t know, how would they explain this to their eight year old son?
Looking at the track list of the album, this song seems like just the tip of the iceberg. It would suggest Thicke is a deluded man; one that doesn’t take no for an answer. People were considering boycotting Glasto if Metallica performed due to James Hetfield’s bear hunting antics. Lostprophets has lost its following after Ian Watkins was found out to be guilty of child abuse. Rightly so, of course. Why is it then that nodding along to Robin Thicke is an ok thing to do? Go on mate, she only said no once, I’m sure she’s just fine with you metaphorically – or not even that – slitting your wrists on her doorstep.
Adults can make their own decisions and not every adult will see the video or listen to the album and think that’s totally normal. Someone in an abusive relationship however might see it as confirmation that what happens to them is perfectly ok. What about teenagers? We’ve all done stupid things as teens – especially if a kinda attractive pop star who is deemed super cool says it’s the way to go forward. Of course it’s silly to assume teenagers are brought up solely by pop culture but it does make up a huge part of our world. Someone as psychotic as Thick should not be allowed a part in this. Social responsibility and all that.