Last year’s inescapable single “Blurred Lines,” which turned Robin Thicke from a marginal R&B singer to a superstar, was great for his career—but maybe not so good for his personal life. After its racy video and a grabby performance alongside (or, actually, very, very close behind) Miley Cyrus at the VMAs turned him into a sex symbol of an exceedingly sleazy kind, his wife Paula Patton, who he started dating as a teenager, left him amid rumors of infidelity.
Earlier this month Thicke announced that he’s releasing an album, entitled Paula, that’s all about their split. Judging by the song titles—“Love Can Grow Back,” “Still Madly Crazy,” “You’re My Fantasy”—it seems less like his Here, My Dear or Blood On the Tracks than a very public, very desperate stunt to convince Patton to reconcile.
How desperate? Well, the new video for Paula‘s lead single, “Get Her Back,” juxtaposes moody shots of Thicke and a disconcertingly Patton-esque woman with snippets of text messages between two estranged lovers, one of whom lists a number of valid reasons as to why they’re estranged (“You drink too much,” “You embarrassed me”) and the other of whom has written an entire album about their breakup. From Thicke’s perspective, it probably seems like a grand romantic gesture—but from anywhere else, it looks like quite possibly the thirstiest video of all time.
Desperation aside, it doesn’t seem too well designed to win anyone back. Even if the onscreen texts aren’t actually taken from conversations between the two, a la the voicemail sample in Drake’s “Marvin’s Room,” putting up an ersatz private conversation with someone you’re trying to make up with into a video for public consumption seems creepily invasive. And if you’re trying to get back together with someone who’s accused you of cheating, is it really a good idea to show her footage of someone else caressing your nipples? Even if it’s her doppelganger?
We’ll see how well things work out for Thicke after he drops Paula on July 1.