2013 was a year that saw new artists rule the charts for weeks on end. However, there was one veteran artist who unexpectedly scored one of the biggest hits of the year.
Robin Thicke has been releasing albums since 2002 and enjoyed major success as far as album sales, but his hit singles were almost exclusively on the R&B charts. Then along came “Blurred Lines.” The single, featuring T.I. and Pharrell Williams, topped the Billboard Hot 100 for 12 weeks and became the official ‘song of the summer’, all the while causing non-stop controversy.
First, there was the NSFW version of the song’s video, which was accused of objectifying women because it featured topless models. The song’s lyrics were attacked for being misogynistic: one writer even described as them as “kind of rapey,” due to the “you know you want it” chorus.
The controversy did little if anything to decrease the song’s popularity. Thicke previously told Vanity Fair that “Blurred Lines” changed the trajectory of his career by broadening his audience. “I’ve released 100 songs, and this one song has sold more, and the video was seen more, than everything else I’ve ever done combined,” he says. “For the last 10 years, my audience at every concert was 90 percent black women. This year, pop radio and a white [audience] decided, ‘we like this guy.’ That’s the difference between being an R&B star and a pop star.”
Then came Robin’s performance of “Blurred Lines” with Miley Cyrus at the MTV VMAs, with Cyrus delivering a racy, widely-criticized, over-the-top, twerk-filled performance that you either loved or loathed.
Then there were the legal issues. Robin filed a preemptive lawsuit against the family of the late Marvin Gaye in an attempt to establish that “Blurred Lines” didn’t rip off the legendary singer’s tune “Got to Give It Up.” That was followed by a countersuit filed by two of Gaye’s children. Then Gaye’s eldest son, Marvin Gaye III, filed his own countersuit. Music experts, though, aren’t sure if the accusations will stand up in court.
The good news is that the controversy didn’t keep “Blurred Lines” from scoring multiple Grammy nominations in December. The song was also recognized the most “Shazamed” song of 2013 worldwide, being tagged 17.8 million times. The track also notched the number-two spot on Billboard’s Biggest Hits of the Year list.
Rohin Thicke already has the early part of 2014 mapped out. He’ll hit the road on a headlining tour of North America starting on February 21 in Atlanta. Right now, Robin’s scheduled to visit 15 cities, with things wrapping up March 29 in San Francisco. Joining Robin for the jaunt will be British pop star Jessie J, as well as DJ Cassidy.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio