The controversy of Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines": too racy for audio or video?

The hit song of the summer may well be Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines.”  While Thicke has been around for years (his sixth album of the same name was released yesterday), this ubiquitous song represents his breakout hit.  Contributing to the buzz is controversy surrounding the song’s lyrics and video.  What controversy, you ask?  Let’s break it down.

Lyrics:

The lyrics to “Blurred Lines” have been described as disparaging to women, creepy and even “rapey.”  Here are the lyrics at issue:

You're a good girl

Can't let it get past me

You're far from plastic

Talk about getting blasted

I hate these blurred lines

I know you want it (repeat twice)

But you're a good girl

The way you grab me

Must wanna get nasty

Go ahead, get at me

Thicke addressed the controversy during an appearance on the Today Show yesterday:  “When we made the song we had nothing but the most respect for women. Sometimes the lyrics can get misconstrued when you’re just trying to put people on the dance floor and have a good time. But we had no idea it would stir this much controversy…. It's supposed to stir conversation, it's supposed to make us talk about what's important and what the relationship between men and women is, but if you listen to the lyrics it says 'That man is not your maker' — it's actually a feminist movement within itself."  In fact, Thicke and his co-collaborators (T.I. and Pharrell Williams) are all either married or engaged.

Okay, so what about the video?

Video:

The original unedited version of the video features three nude models amongst Thicke, TI and Pharrell.  After its initial release, YouTube woke up and realized that it was causing a stir, so it was temporarily removed, although it’s back up now (it was always available on Vevo).  A “dressed” version of the video is (slightly) more family friendly.

What does Thicke have to say about the video?  In an interview with The Times of London, he claims to have been inspired by none other than Benny Hill:  “I’m getting all the buzz and burn, but when I watch [the video], it makes me smile. It doesn’t even look dangerous.  We're the ones who look the fools [in the video]. And the women, they're not gyrating or shaking their butts or even doing any sexy dancing. It's as silly as can possibly be.”  So there you go.

Personally neither the lyrics nor the video diminish my enjoyment of this song, but I’m a simple gal who can’t be bothered analyzing lyrics.  I have been listening to the entire album today and the title track is definitely the standout song, although I also like “The Good Life” quite a bit.  Fun fact: both Vampire Weekend and Queens of the Stone Age have covered “Blurred Lines.”  Well!

Here are the two versions of “Blurred Lines,” the first being the nude version (hide the teenage boys):

 

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