Label: The Neptunes
Interpret Paula as a desperate plea to estranged wife Paula Patton, or an attempt to win back fans after his laddish Blurred Lines alienated so many of them. But don't compare it to Marvin Gaye's brilliantly tortured Here, My Dear. Thicke is too much of an optimist. This should be a serious affair, but after a few sincere ballads like "You're My Fantasy" and "Get Her Back," he can't help but lighten his mood with effusive yet underwritten pop like "Living in New York City." He loses himself in what-me-worry joy and helplessness, and his life and art suffer for it.