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Sex Therapy: The Experience

Robin Thicke

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Album Review

Sex Therapy is an evasive maneuver to prevent Robin Thicke from being pigeonholed as a “grown folks” R&B singer. It’s evident that hits — more specifically, appealing to younger listeners — is the goal. While Thicke’s previous album, Something Else, did well on the album charts, it maintained a classicist sound throughout, produced only one major single, and featured only one appearance from a guest MC. Sex Therapy, however, enlists Snoop Dogg, Jay-Z, the Game, Kid Cudi, and Nicki “Stick shift the ding-a-ling” Minaj — not to mention Estelle and Jazmine Sullivan, both of whom contribute excellent background vocals on their respective appearances. Thicke heightens the brashness downplayed on Something Else, best applied on the title track, where the cunning contrast between his masculine certitude and feather-light falsetto is in full effect. That he does it while lifting the melody from “It’s My Party” — as a near-replication of the pulse from the Art of Noise's “Moments in Love” drifts in the background — makes it all the more daring and remarkable. Sometimes the results are either dopey (if lighthearted), as on “Meiplé,” or humorously awkward, as on “Shakin’ It 4 Daddy,” where the oft-repeated hook “She shakin’ it for daddy, she shakin’ it for me” must make some listeners think of Thicke and his father instead of just Thicke. The album does not represent a total abandonment of the qualities that have connected with the singer’s adult fans. “Mrs. Sexy,” based on Eric B. & Rakim's Al Green-sampling “Mahogany” (to the point where he does not bother to change a line that references his skin tone), is as buttery and elegant as anything he has recorded. On “Million Dolla Baby,” he takes his Marvin Gaye fixation another step forward, using “Trouble Man” as its backbone; even if it strikes you as corny, you have to admit that it is pretty slick. Above all, he continues to put one of the best voices in R&B to good use. [Sex Therapy: The Experience contains five additional songs. One is a brief intro and another is an interlude. The other three are not dazzling. The insatiable fans are the only ones who need to seek it out.]

Biography

Born: 10 March 1977 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

One of the more charismatic, flashy, and commercially successful R&B acts of the 2000s and 2010s, Robin Thicke didn't have the toughest row to hoe to achieve stardom, but he was one of the least likely artists to acquire street credibility. He worked for over a decade as a modestly successful songwriter and fledgling solo artist prior to breaking through — assisted by the Neptunes — with 2006's The Evolution of Robin Thicke. On that album, his inspirations, ranging from '70s Marvin...
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Sex Therapy: The Experience, Robin Thicke
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