For years on end there have been white artists trying to sound black. It started with Elvis essentially stealing the rock n’ roll sound and calling it his own, and has since gone on to become the white musician’s pastime. While some have succeeded — The Little Rascals, Hall & Oates, and to some extent Justin Timberlake, others have either failed, or have not been able to sustain any measure of success.
Take, as an example Jamiroquai, who as a band fronted by white man Jay Kay, emulated the funk and soul sound of Stevie Wonder, and with their first album, Emergency on Planet Earth, succeeded. Radio friendly hits from the second album led the band to higher planes of success, but further away from the soul beginnings that made them so good. It was then that the stoners took over and made Jamiroquai just another band for the HORDE tour. Lately there has been another name on the map in the quest to take the mantle of “The next white Stevie Wonder”, and that name is Thicke.
If you’re thinking that name is familiar, you’ve probably seen your share of syndicated reruns on TV. Thicke is actually the son of Alan Thicke who played Jason Seaver, the father on the sitcom Growing Pains. One has to wonder if, with his choice of career, his choice of genre, and his choice of lyrics are a blatant attempt to distance himself from the fame of his father. While I applaud him for this effort, it is the work itself that leaves something to be desired.
I can certainly hear the similarities to Stevie in tracks like “Suga Mama”, but with such awful lyrics as “She can’t keep her hands on me / But won’t public affection me” are unforgivable. I’m sure he’s had an education growing up with money, and he shouldn’t be ashamed of it. Instead, Thicke chooses to use the language of the street, although I am still trying to figure out what street that might have been. It should read that she couldn’t have kept her hands OFF of him, since he is using `but’. Using a noun as a verb in the second line isn’t really street, it’s more business speak like `decisioning’. Either way, it’s wrong wrong wrong.
You might also remember at least one track from the album which was released earlier, both as an MTV video, and as a Sprite commercial. The song samples the disco hit “A Fifth of Beethoven”, the original a travesty in itself, and is certainly catchy, but again is simply silly once the words escape his mouth. Take for instance “You tha shit / that makes you my equivalent“. Indeed. I will give him credit for making the song about proving to a girl that there is more to him than just his famous last name. Unfortunately, what’s more is a bad sample of a bad disco song.
While I am not a fan of this CD, I can say that there are some tracks which have some merit, namely “The Stupid Things”. Oh wait, I forgot that some of the lyrics are “Sometimes you read like William Shakes / Your scent is sweet like Betty Crocker bakes“. These are some of the worst lyrics since “I’ve got more rhymes than J.D.’s got Salinger.” Please people, you have taken English classes! Maybe since they didn’t have access to the UNCF’s good graces they didn’t realize that the mind is a terrible thing to waste.
I will not waste any more of my time with this review just as you shouldn’t waste any money on this CD. Instead, why don’t you go out and pick up one of the excellent CD’s listed below.
Albums you should buy instead:
Stevie Wonder’s Talking Book
Gil Scott Heron’s Pieces of a Man
Jamiroquai’s Emergency on Planet Earth