Friday, August 23, 2013

"Blurred Lines" indeed...

Have you heard about the Robin Thicke/Marvin Gaye brouhaha? My first thought: I wish I could write about that!

Oh. Right. The Blog. Well let's go then!

First, give this a listen:

Marvin Gaye's "Got To Give It Up"

And now this (Unfortunately I can only post a live version):

Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines (Live)"

Full disclosure: I'm a Marvin Gaye fan. Pretty much every soul singer from the past 40 years would say that they are too, including Robin Thicke. He's openly admitted that "Blurred Lines" was heavily influenced by Gaye's "Got to Give It Up." But there's being influenced (i.e.: his music inspired me) and then there's being a  thief (i.e.: his music inspired me... to lift rhythm and vocal patterns without giving credit to the original artist). 

Look, it's next to impossible to compose a piece of completely original music. Almost everything written today is derivative to some degree or another. And even the best of musicians have been sued for copyright infringement (Johnny Cash, George Harrison and Steely Dan, to name a few). But one misstep in a successful career of groundbreaking music is very different from consistently "borrowing" vocal deliveries, song structure and instrumental style. The tickety-tock staccato rhythm line in "Blurred Lines" is just one of Thicke's offenses. Give a listen to the intro to his "Million Dollar Baby" and compare it to Gaye's "Trouble Man." Seriously? Maybe Thicke really is out of his miiiiiiind.

Filing a preemptive complaint to head off a lawsuit from the Gaye estate is arrogance at its worst. (It also hints at a bit of admission, doesn't it? If the songs weren't alike, Thicke would have nothing to worry about.) Thicke needs to give Gaye credit for using SEVERAL of his songs. Which yes, will mean forking over a small fortune. But them the breaks. Without Gaye paving the way, there'd probably be no Robin Thicke. Small price to pay.


Andrea W said...

I've heard of Marvin Gaye, I've no idea who the other guy is. Unless its in my iPod, I probably haven't heard it (I don't listen to the radio!).

Still, stealing us stealing, no?

Andrea W said...

*is stealing

Dang phone.

Robin said...

Andrea, I am AMAZED that you've managed to escape it! And impressed too. The video alone caused a huge ruckus.