With all of the questionable pop songs that have been released since I've started writing about media, I don't know why "Blurred Lines" by Robin Thicke, Pharrell Williams, and T.I. gets me so frustrated. It's probably a combination of cultural and political zeitgeist driven by the news media, entertainment criticism, and conventions I attend. This song came out when my rage level about this kind of arguably predatory behavior really boiled over. But I've had no desire to discuss it myself. I have a million thoughts but haven't really found an angle I want to discuss. The people who like the song dismiss the complaints and the people who hate the song already know why.
Then someone linked me to What Rhymes With Hug Me? and it said everything I wanted to about the song.
Here's the default homepage for the random alternate lyrics parody site for "Blurred Lines."
That's basically my reading of the song in four lines. Cut, print, send it to the presses.
The frustration goes deeper. It's a lazy song. Who actually releases a song with a clear rhyme scheme and actually comments on their inability to rhyme a phrase as simple as "hug me?" These guys do.
The entire concept is just done halfway. If we take Robin Thicke and company at their word, the uncomfortable subject matter of "Blurred Lines" is satire. They're mocking actual tropes of this style of song.
There is just no elevation of material. There's no clever line that lets the audience in on the joke. It's not committed enough to be shocking in its execution to actually get that message across. The song is not subtle, but if the satire talk is genuine, the approach to the subject matter was nowhere near loud enough to read properly.
The video similarly falls flat. When there are still artists releasing music videos every week with even more overt sexuality and boastful claims of sexual prowess, a wall of balloons commenting on penis size isn't a dead giveaway that you're joking. It really doesn't work when the rest of the video is so true to the absurdity of this industry. Few artists are actually able to satirize the commercial recorded music industry from within and this trio really missed the mark.
You know what almost worked as better satire? Miley Cyrus performing with Robin Thicke at the VMAs this year. At least then, the performance was so over the top and crude that people were shocked into discussing how awful this song actually is. The only thing that was a marked improvement on the original in that performance was Miley actually giving the woman being pursued in the club a voice in the song. Everything else was so over that top that the song finally felt ridiculous enough to match the artist's claims.
Too bad we were all laughing at their stupidity, poor performance skills, and lack of judgment.
Thanks to whoever made the What Rhymes With Hug Me website. Double thanks for actually defaulting to the literal interpretation of the song about pursuing a woman who says no by any means necessary.
Thoughts? Share them below.