August 01, 2013 at 04:00 AM EDT

Before Blurred Lines descended on the land this summer, uniting elderly aunts and hyperactive children on wedding-reception dance floors, not much was really known about Robin Thicke. Yes, his father, Alan, played the dad on Growing Pains. Yes, he’s released five albums and notched a few minor hits. And yes, he boasts hair thicker than a BP oil spill. But little soul seemed to lurk behind his blue eyes and zero-calorie R&B.

With ”Blurred Lines” (and its infamously boobtacular video) at his back, Thicke’s now attempting to unblandify himself. His new album seizes on the single’s bouncy, frankly horny vibe and sashays with it, ramping his smoove into almost manic territory — and revealing a near-relentless pickup artist. ”Girl, I wrote a song about you/Designed a little part that reminds me of your ass,” he sings with syrupy assuredness on ”Go Stupid 4 U,” an upbeat sex jam that feels surprisingly flat, given its inspiration. On the whirring, winking club track ”Give It 2 U” — the man never met a one-syllable word he didn’t want 2 abbreviate — Thicke simply offers up his ”big d-.”

The problem’s not merely that Thicke has doused himself in too-strong cologne. It’s how predictably it all fits with his frictionless boutique-lounge grooves — a sound we liked better this year coming from Justin Timberlake’s ”Suit & Tie” and Daft Punk’s ”Get Lucky” (which ”Blurred Lines,” also with Pharrell, followed onto the charts). This may be Robin Thicke’s perfect moment. That moment just happens to be perfectly boring. C+

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