What is it called when something surpasses a level of awkwardness where just simply “awkward” becomes an understatement? Saying “that’s so Robin Thicke” may not have a great ring to it, but it’s starting to fit the qualifications pretty perfectly. When Thicke and longtime partner Paula Patton separated this past February, Thicke seemed hellbent on getting back together with her. He dedicated songs to her in concerts, and even debuted his new single, aptly titled ‘Get Her Back,’ live at the Billboard Music Awards back in early May. However, things started getting weird when it was announced that his new album would be titled Paula after his estranged wife. Now that it’s finally released, it’s turning out to be a huge flop commercially, and that’s just adding more sting to the wound.
Robin Thicke’s new album will debut with one of the worst sales weeks of his career
Paula, released on July 1, comes less than a year since Thicke’s last record, Blurred Lines. The album featuring the gigantic single of the same name has gone on to sell nearly 700,000 copies in the United States, but Paula is turning out to be the complete opposite. Billboard reports that the album is expected to sell between 20,000-25,000 copies in its first week. If this holds true, it will mark the lowest debut for Thicke since the release of his second album, The Evolution of Robin Thicke, in 2007 where it came in with 20,000 sold. To compare with Blurred Lines: it sold 177,000 copies in the first week and debuted at #1 in July 2013. However, despite the low sales numbers for Paula, it may still be good enough to notch Thicke a spot in the top ten, which is pretty sad if you think about it – but it’s still not as sad as the Paula situation in general.
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In a perfect world, or at least in some kind of weird Disney movie about this, Thicke’s efforts to win back Patton would culminate to Paula debuting at #1 on the charts selling a million records. Patton would listen to the album and sob at every note, taking him back, and living happily ever after. In reality, Thicke said she’s only heard a few songs from it, the lead single ‘Get Her Back’ has only reached a measly #82 on the Hot 100, and the album itself is performing less than desired, so where did everything so wrong? Theoretically, everyone loves a good heartbreak. It’s basically why Taylor Swift is so successful! Paula had all the ingredients to maybe sort-of be a hit, but it struggled in the promotion department as the record was released so quickly since its announcement, and there was hardly any push for the single other than the performance at the Billboard Music Awards.
Can ‘Paula’ actually win back Paula?
It also doesn’t help that the record is apparently not very good. According to Metacritic, Paula stands at 48 rating, making it the worst received album in Thicke’s discography on the site. The New York Daily News said, “Listening, you never feel you can entirely trust the guy, which may be the album’s most revealing aspect of all,” while DJ Booth said, “It's an odd, disjointed album that, despite scattered high points, leaves one wondering what Thicke was thinking when he put it together. Paula Patton deserves better, and so do listeners.” Ouch. Despite the sales and critic responses, who knows whether the album will achieve its ultimate goal of getting Paula back, but for the sake of his career, let’s hope that 2014 can easily be forgotten when he eventually puts out another record.