Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” featuring T.I. and Pharrell has spawned hundreds of video parodies. Some parodies are emphasizing the absurd hashtag that is Thicke’s name that appears sporadically throughout the censored video. Some of these are poorly done, some of these are funny, most of them are terrible. There are a few unique ones that are worth watching, and while not a parody, Thicke’s appearance on Jimmy Fallon had the pair singing Blurred Lines with The Roots, all of them using classroom instruments.
The more hilarious appearance was probably Thicke and Farrell on Jimmy Kimmel, attempting to insert himself, in what would otherwise appear to be the legitimate version of the video.
“Blurred Lines” was released on the album of the same name in March of 2013. The song has either peaked or eventually reached number one on the charts in many countries, including the US, and oddly enough, excluding Japan where it only reached 32. The video has received criticism by many who have interpreted the song’s message as being promotion of rape culture, the video labeled as misogynist. There are two videos for the song, the original unrated version was initially pulled by Youtube for its sexual content, however both versions can now be seen. There was also a lawsuit initiated by Robin Thicke involving Marvin Gay and Funkadelic. Marvin Gay and Funkadelic alleged that in some way or another “Blurred Lines” infringed or stole from their earlier works.
There’s quite a lot of effort and energy in promoted this track and it might not be overly apparent if it was done simply to promote it, sex sells, or if it is merely a coincidence. Ironically the song is repetitive enough that it becomes dull and uninteresting in the first few moments. The video may hold your attention longer depending on your interpretation of what’s being shown to you but this is all very disappointing at a time when any project Pharrell is involved in is justifiably the best the music world has to offer.
While the repetition in the drum track is unique until you realize it just loops without variation, and Pharrell’s falsetto equally uninteresting, we can be saved by creative souls on Youtube! While each group is putting their final touches on bombing their visual production of the “Blurred Lines” video parody, there are others that are taking this Sunday stroll through terrible town and making it interesting.
Drummer/Teacher Casey Cooper may be the very epitome of what it means to be a human drum machine in terms of rhythmic accuracy and timing. Unlike the Thicke and Pharrell original, Cooper covers “Blurred Lines” with a minimalist drum kit and manages to pack more creativity that what you can expect from mainstream pop music of the last ten years. While many covers are simply the original principal reinvented, Cooper’s drum cover leaves the original integrity intact and compliments the original as still not-a-complete-waste-of-time-pop. Cooper expertly takes what was dull and polishes it up beautifully for those who listen to their music actively and critically. The concept is not new, covering a song and threading your take, your version, your voice into the original.
In this case the comparison to the original “canned” drum track with Cooper’s cover is amazing in the sense that the simple version is what was used rather than the creativity of a human being behind a drum kit. It is the simple and repetitive rhythm that wins in popular modern music, not the music that might even change the timbre slightly on the next repeat through the same 8 bars. If you want to continue to dull music, that is your freedom. If you’d like a different perspective, just watch Casey Cooper’s cover of Bruno Mars’ “Locked Out of Heaven”. Don’t let the radio tell you what to listen to!
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