Ranking the Best Robin Thicke Albums

I’ll never forget the first time I was introduced to Thicke.

Sometime around 2002/2003, I was checking out the latest episode of 106 & Park, like every other music fan on the planet in that era. As AJ introduced The New Joint of the Day from this guy known as Thicke, he almost pleaded with the audience, essentially saying “hey, this isn’t the sound you’re used to but trust me, it’s dope, give it a chance.”

Viewers then were treated to a long haired guy riding a bike down the street, singing along to Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5.

AJ didn’t have to twist my arm – I thought it was dope. My girlfriend slash future wife later would scour every music store until she could find Thicke’s debut. It only took one song to make me a fan.

The days of Jesus Christ Superstar Thicke seem like eons ago, especially to fans more used to Thicke’s name landing in modern-day TMZ headlines. But today, we’re not here for the drama, we’re here for the music.

Thicke is just a few weeks away from the release of On Earth, and in Heaven, his first LP in seven years and, the Internet streets are saying it’s some of his best work in a long time. While we keep our hopes high, let’s take a look back at his discography –  ranking his solo LPs from bottom to top.

7. Paula (2014)

Soul In Stereo rating: 2.5 stars out of 5

Read our review here

Edd said: Whew. I’m keeping this one short because we all know the sorted story behind this album. Thicke’s public apology to his ex-wife may have seemed like a good idea on paper – heartbreak has spawned some of the greatest songs in R&B, after all. But instead of a visceral, emotional response we got a weary, lethargic release. Everyone was owed an apology after this one.

Forgotten favorites: “Forever Love,” “You’re My Fantasy”

6. Blurred Lines (2013)

Soul In Stereo rating: 3 stars out of 5

Read our review here

Edd said: Following massive success of its inescapable title track, Thicke’s Blurred Lines album should have been his biggest mainstream offering to date. Things didn’t quite work out that way – frankly, besides the big hit, this one doesn’t bring much else to the table. Give our boy Robin credit for attempting to experiment a bit here by embracing a more upbeat approach on many tracks. And yes, he’s even rapping, years before every R&B singer seemingly was federally mandated to do so on their records. Blurred Lines occasionally hits the mark but most times Thicke feels out of his element.

Forgotten favorites: “Ooh La La”

5. Love After War (2011)

Soul In Stereo rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Read our review here

Edd said: Love After War is a great album trapped inside a merely OK album.  Things start out really strong, featuring several underrated album cuts that still stand up today. But about halfway through the energy slows way down, with many songs becoming indistinguishable. Love After War is filled with lost potential –  a trim and better track sequencing would have gone a long way – but there are plenty of victories to be found on this battlefield.

Forgotten favorites: “Mission,” “All Tied Up,” “Never Give Up”

4. Something Else (2008)

Soul In Stereo rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Read our review here

Edd said: Following up a career-defining release is never easy but Thicke adapted to the pressure well on 2008’s Something Else. His tender falsetto is back in full force, giving life to the airy production and even stepping up the tempo a time or two. Despite those big wins – and stop me if you’ve heard this before – this is another album that struggles with inconsistency in both writing and sequencing. It’s not enough to derail the party, it just limits a lot of the potential.

Forgotten favorites: “Magic,” “The Sweetest Love,” “Ms. Harmony”

3. Sex Therapy (2009)

Soul In Stereo rating: 4 stars out of 5

Read our review here

Edd said: Whenever I crank out one of these album rankings, there’s at least one great LP in an artist’s catalog that doesn’t get the love it deserves. In Thicke’s case, it’s Sex Therapy. Once again, Robin isn’t afraid to evolve, incorporating lots of hip-hop elements into this release. Surprisingly, most of them work very well. But it’s his bread and butter – the sensuous ballads and steamy bedroom burners – that really elevate this one to the next level. Forget that guy from Canada, this is certified lover boy status.

Forgotten favorites: “Sex Therapy,” “2 Luv Birds,” “It’s In The Mornin”

2. A Beautiful World (2003)

Soul In Stereo rating: 4 stars out of 5

Edd said: Thicke once described this album as proof of the “limitless possibilities of music.” Those lack of boundaries define A Beautiful World, Thicke’s oft-forgotten but true debut album. Each song is an adventure, wildly swinging from rock licks and hip-hop drums to classic soul and Beethoven. The spastic nature of tracklist seems like a sounds clash on paper but it’s Thicke optimistic energy that ties it all together. This album’s untamed spirit might intimidate fans who were introduced to Thicke during the later Star Trak era but it’s easily some of his best work.

Forgotten favorites: “Brand New Jones,” “Flowers in Bloom,” “The Stupid Things”

1. The Evolution of Robin Thicke (2006)

Soul In Stereo rating: 4 stars out of 5

Edd said: While it’s not his first album, this is the first time many fans fell in love with Thicke’s music – and it’s an incredible entry point for sure. The race between Thicke’s debut and his breakout hit for the top spot came down to the wire, but Evolution ever so slightly edges out A Beautiful World by being a bit more focused. The album’s overall theme of love and loneliness strike all the right cords, providing a cohesiveness some of this later works lacked. It also helps that it’s home to some of his most beloved songs. The Evolution of Robin Thicke is by far Thicke’s most known work – luckily for him it’s also his greatest.

Forgotten favorites: “Can U Believe,” “Teach U A Lesson,” “Got 2 Be Down”

What are your favorite Thicke albums? Have you heard A Beautiful World? Did you actually like Paula? Let us know in the comments below.

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1 Comments

  1. This ranking brought back memories! I loved me some Robin Thicke and am looking forward to his new album. Unfortunately, I do not have his first album in my collection.

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