A Quasi-Academic Look at #Thicke’s “Blurred Lines”

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Since the song came out, Robin #Thicke has defended its questionable content by saying that the whole point of it is to make fun of the kind of guys who act/think this way. At first, I kind of figured it was a response meant to deflect the question and/or screw with people. But then I started thinking “is there a way this could actually be true?” Turns out, there is, or at least I think there is, and it’s simple: Imagine the falsetto parts of the verses as the “smooth” things this would-be lady killer wants to say to his intended, and the full-voice parts are what actually comes out.

Let’s set the scene. It’s Saturday night, and our protagonist is in “da club,” as they say, where he spied a lady he’d like to talk to. The problem: what the hell does he say to her? Pickup lines are old news, and with the loud music a simple “hey what’s up” isn’t going to lead to much. He needs something a little more… open ended.

If you can’t hear what I’m trying to say
If you can’t read from the same page

“I like that. It’s poetic. Metaphorical, even. What is it I’m trying to say? From what page am I reading? Bitches love this artsy stuff. I bet she’ll respond with something flirty. Ok, let’s do this. Let’s blow her mind.”

MAYBE I’M GOING DEF,
MAYBE I’M GOING BLIND
MAYBE I’M OUT OF MY MIND

“Shit. That’s not what I meant to say at all. I’m not nearly drunk enough. Or too drunk, I can’t tell. Yeah, that’s probably not the best thing to say to a girl when you first meet her. ‘Hi, I’m only approaching you because I’m blind, can’t hear your voice, and am crazy.’ Good job. Oh well, next one.”

Our Protagonist moves around the bar until he finds another potential candidate. “She’s hot, but not, like, THAT hot,” he thinks to himself. Perfect. This time, maybe something a little more direct is in order. Nothing too obvious, but maybe not trying to be so abstract will keep him from tongue tying himself.

What do they make dreams for
When you got them jeans on
What do we need steam for

“This is PERFECT. Heavy on the innuendo, but nothing inappropriate. Solid gold brother, solid gold.”

YOU THE HOTTEST BITCH IN THIS PLACE

“SHIT. Why did I say that? There goes all the innuendo. That wasn’t subtle. That was the opposite of subtle. Wait… maybe she didn’t hear me? She’s into this. We’re dancing! Awesome!”

I feel so lucky
You wanna hug me
What rhymes with hug me?

“I really hope I didn’t say that out loud. Shit, I did. Haha, she said ‘rub me.’ That doesn’t even rhyme, really. I think I’ve met my dream girl. Uh oh, we’re really grinding now. I wish I had some real gangster-type shit to say to her. That would be tits.”

One thing I ask of you
Let me be the one you back that ass to
Go, from Malibu, to Paris, boo
Yeah, I had a bitch, but she ain’t bad as you
So hit me up when you passing through
I’ll give you something big enough to tear your ass in two
Swag on, even when you dress casual
I mean it’s almost unbearable
Then, honey you’re not there when I’m
With my foresight bitch you pay me by
Nothing like your last guy, he too square for you
He don’t smack that ass and pull your hair like that
So I just watch and wait for you to salute
But you didn’t pick
Not many women can refuse this pimpin’
I’m a nice guy, but don’t get it if you get with me

“Damn, what a sick rhyme. I’ve been working on that one for weeks. My bros say my flow’s improved A LOT. Time to field test it, as they say.”

Shake the vibe, get down, get up
DO YOU LIKE IT HURT, LIKE IT HURT?
WHAT YOU DON’T LIKE WORK?

“Christ, who am I, James Brown? Whatever, she liked the enthusiasm. I think she’s, like, really drunk. Or maybe I’m just that good. Yeah, I bet that’s it.”

As the night progresses, the duo decide on taking the party to his place for some post-club revelry, and maybe, if our protagonist is lucky, some sex (or at least under-the-shirt-but-over-the-bra boob touching.

“Whew, I still have some weed left. God, this stuff is shit. It’s like the stems grew their own stems and that’s what I’m left with. Hopefully she won’t notice if I play up the stickiness.”

Baby can you breathe? I got this from Jamaica
It always works for me, Dakota to Decatur

“Perfect. I’ve never been to either of the Dakotas, and I don’t even know where Decatur is. But Jamaica’s a place with good weed, right? Saying I take it with me from Dakota to Decatur (which I’m pretty sure is in, like, Turkey or something) makes me sound like a world traveler who’s badass enough to not worry about the implications of transporting drugs across international boundaries. Ok, time to… Wh- What? She just took it and smoked it? No explanation needed? And now she wants me to go get a condom? THIS IS THE BEST NIGHT OF MY LIFE!”

Later, as he’s in the bathroom searching for is long-expired box of condoms, he gives himself a pep talk…

No more pretending
Cause now you winning
Here’s our beginning

Yes, champ. Winning indeed.

____

From that perspective, the song’s explanation makes sense. These guys who think they’re master pickup artists don’t realize that their occasional success is usually just due to their finding a girl who was out to have fun and get laid herself. Not convinced? What would that same kind of douchebag say to himself if he saw a girl he wanted dancing with another man? Would it be something like… this?

OK now he was close, tried to domesticate you
But you’re an animal, baby it’s in your nature
Just let me liberate you
You don’t need no papers
That man is not your maker

Yes, the guy (who is not you) with whom the lady is dancing is clearly holding her under some kind of spell against her will. If only you were there to “save” her, big guy.

What about before these guys go out for the night in their roving bro-packs? What kinds of things might they say to themselves in order to “hype themselves up?” You’d want to say something encouraging and affirmational, right? Something like…

And that’s why I’m gon’ take a good girl
I know you want it
I know you want it
I know you want it
You’re a good girl
Can’t let it get past me
You’re far from plastic
Talk about getting blasted
I hate these blurred lines
I know you want it
I know you want it
I know you want it
But you’re a good girl
The way you grab me
Must wanna get nasty
Go ahead, get at me

I rest my case. Never doubt Robin #Thicke

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