Another pick-up line you've already heard
Something Else (Capitol)
ESSENTIAL "You're My Baby"
It's hard to pinpoint what occasionally tips Robin Thicke's loverman shtick from purring to parody on his third album, out next Tuesday. Why when he shoots for Marvin Gaye he sometimes lands on "Flight of the Conchords." Maybe it's the Isaac Hayes-Barry White "come on, baby" mannerisms that crop up on tracks like "Side Step," in which Thicke earnestly laments that a woman "ain't in no hurry for my love" even though he's canceled his plans! Perhaps it's the extremity of his Prince-ly falsetto. Thicke doesn't just graze the clouds with his seductive high register - he rockets into astronaut territory. And his proclivity for flaky lyrical flights doesn't help. On the mildly psychedelic and faintly ridiculous "Dreamworld," Thicke envisions a utopia full of free love and free energy. This kind of stuff worked for Thicke's idols but feels too naïve and derivative for the new millennium. But amid the attempts at sexual healing and cosmic, eco-soul unity, Thicke crafts some beautiful atmospheres. Lilting Latin-pop grooves punctuated with congas and guiros melt into tremulous pop symphonies that are equally influenced by the marching orders of Sgt. Pepper and the mist of the purple rain. [Sarah Rodman]
Robin Thicke plays at Showcase Live in Foxborough tomorrow night.