Why Robin Thicke Is the New Vanilla Ice
Robin Thicke's new album sold 54 copies in Australia last week. Stare at that number long and hard, just like Robin Thicke would want you to, ladies. It's way smaller than you thought it would be, huh? He did way better in the UK, though, where he sold 530 copies. Things aren't much better stateside, where sales dropped an astonishing 86 percent compared to his last album. You know the one, with that song with the naked video they only spent about 20 minutes making:
To give you some perspective, we're talking about a man who, less than one year ago, had the No. 1 album on the U.K. R&B charts. Seriously, it was the week of July 27, 2013. We aren't there yet on the calendar, and in terms of album sales, it's a place Robin Thicke will never be again: History makes it clear that if your next attempt bombs this hard, you're a one-hit wonder. In fact, if we're talking the time and distance between when an artist hits the absolute peak of their career and when it completely bottoms out, there is only one comparison you can make -- Robin Thicke is the new Vanilla Ice.
Vanilla Ice will transition into the role of the next Spider-Man.
There are a lot of parallel lines you can find between their stories. Both are white dudes who seemingly crossed racial boundaries and united people in a shared love for terrible dance tunes. Both had relatively (albeit far less) successful singles either before or after the one that made them famous. Both were sued by the musicians who really wrote their biggest songs. Both will draw unfortunate comparisons to Snow for the rest of their lives.
I guess that last one is less important. What really matters are the similarities in what killed them both. Put simply, it was an image problem. If you recall, the main undoing of Vanilla Ice was that he gave interview after interview bragging about his rough-and-tumble upbringing on the streets of Miami, only to have friends and family rat him out as a rich kid who grew up in Texas and drove a Camaro to high school. After that news broke, his music meant nothing. Vanilla Ice was a joke, and buying his music meant part of that joke was now on you. This officially ended the public's acceptance of Vanilla Ice as a viable entertainment option.
In the case of Robin Thicke, his image was one of a man who made sensual soul music custom made for casual sport fucking, but behind it all stood a man who loved his unspeakably hot wife, Paula Patton, very much. In fact, way before the "Blurred Lines" video shot Emily Ratajkowski to Internet fame ...
For some reason.
... Paula Patton was usually "the girl in the Robin Thicke video" that people would ask about.
Unsurprisingly, this led to Robin Thicke building up a massive following among women. In the months after "Blurred Lines" took off, though, a few cracks in the "I'm a ladies' man to one lady only" facade started to appear, and the women who bought his albums and his image have been leaving in droves ever since.
That Paula Patton isn't in the "Blurred Lines" video is fine; she can't be in them all, and featuring your wife in the music video to promote a song that regularly finds itself at the center of "Is this a rape song?" debates might be a weird call anyway. Even the Miley Cyrus twerking fiasco at the MTV Video Music Awards was acceptable. Miley got most of the flack there. Robin Thicke just looked stupid as Beetlejuice.
Just joking, he looks great.
Almost immediately after that controversy, though, this happened:
What's the problem here?
If you're not seeing it, look at the reflection in the mirror. Right, that's his hand. Is that the picture pose of a man who loves and respects his wife? It's definitely the pose of a man who has a loose understanding of what constitutes sexual assault, so the song makes way more sense now, but doesn't this guy have a wife to get home to? Just about everything that's awful about dudes can be seen at work in that picture, and it was at that moment that the women of the world began to wonder if, instead of just playing a sleazy creep in music videos, maybe Robin Thicke is a sleazy creep for real.
They got their answer a few months later when cheating rumors started to swirl and Paula Patton left. Robin Thicke immediately went into disaster recovery mode, giving regretful interviews and talking about his new album, which would be his attempt to get her back. In fact, "Get Her Back" was the name of the first single. The video consisted mostly of Robin Thicke creepily standing in a dark room ...
... and harassing his ex-wife via text message ...
... while a new piece of strange stands by to provide comfort.
It's cool, though, because that broad eventually drowns at the end of the video.
It's Paula that he really loves, or something along those lines.
Now, only history can judge how this compares to Vanilla Ice's heartfelt follow-up, "I Love You":
Or Snow's follow-up to "Informer," "Girl I've Been Hurt":
But regardless, it didn't work. Paula Patton has not forgiven Robin Thicke. She is gone forever and, unfortunately for him, it looks like she's taking his fan base with her when she goes. It doesn't matter if his new album is good or not, because he's broken the trust between himself and the throngs of adoring women who made him famous. For them, buying his new album would be tantamount to forgiving him for cheating on his wife. This will never happen. He's not the sexy, middle-aged married man who makes music to bang his high school sweetheart to anymore. That Robin Thicke was a lie. Now, he's just another Rob Van Winkle.
Adam hosts a podcast you should listen to and runs a stand-up comedy show you should go to sometime if you're in the Los Angeles area. You can also follow him on Twitter @adamtodbrown, and you totally should.