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Love After War (Deluxe Version)

Robin Thicke

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Album Review

Robin Thicke's Vegas streak goes back as far as his debut single, “When I Get You Alone.” Based on Walter Murphy's 1976 disco hit “A Fifth of Beethoven,” it had the backbone of a flashy and theatrical production, but at that point, Thicke was more of a (likable) snotty brat than a slick showman. Eight years later, after other large-scale songs like “Everything I Can’t Have,” “Magic,” and “Million Dolla Baby,” Thicke has settled into a suave, and even more swashbuckling, sound. Throughout the first quarter of Love After War, Thicke might as well be gunning for a Vegas residency. In the bombastic intro “An Angel on Each Arm,” one can picture Thicke strutting onto a decked-out stage with, well, female dancers beside him, and the song has a grinding riff that could be used as a repeated motif throughout the rest of the performance. On the overloaded “I’m an Animal,” Thicke goes hammier: “I’m smokin’ TNT, I’m drinkin’ dyn-o-mite — can you still love me?!” Then, on “Never Give Up,” Thicke nearly drowns in a tidal wave of sound that comes from a sampled recording of Mexican composer José Pablo Moncayo's symphonic “Huapango.” After the all-together-now anthem “The New Generation,” Love After War scales back to slow, soft material with a couple exceptions. “Full Time Believer” is a happy-go-lucky theme for an admired woman, while “The Lil’ Things” and “What Would I Be?” are reflective/thankful songs that would be ideal for the tail end of Thicke’s Sin City New Year’s Eve blowout. Otherwise, the second half is dominated by ballads made for seduction (with more than a little preening). They don’t offer much in the way of development from Thicke's recent past — shut-eyed falsetto cooing, classy Brazilian touches, and 1976 Marvin Gaye moves in steady supply — but they should get the job done. [This Deluxe Edition expands the album with a second disc including three bonus tracks.]

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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Love After War (Deluxe Version), Robin Thicke
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