Robin Thicke has been mostly off the grid because of ongoing “Blurred Lines” litigation. In a recent interview with the New York Times, however, the musician broke his silence and finally commented publicly on his and Pharrell’s position in the ordeal. “I know the difference between inspiration and theft. I’m constantly inspired, but I would never steal,” he said, referencing his legal team’s appeal. “And neither would Pharrell.” If the verdict holds up, Thicke says he’s worried the decision will have a negative ripple effect throughout the music industry — one debilitating to contemporary creativity. The musician also went on in the interview to discuss the importance of spending time with his son, tidbits off his new album (Morning Sun), and what he thinks about some of the other legal cases floating around.
Here are some of the highlights.
On the limitations of pop music:
[Y]ou can’t help but be inspired by all of the greatness that came before you. In popular music, you know, there’s only so many chords being used. On the Internet, there’s this thing where this band plays the same four chords, and they do 75 hit songs with the same four chords in the exact same pattern. That just shows you some of the limitations in popular music.
On his justification for giving co-writing credits to people who have inspired him on his new album:
I know I have a target on my back, and my team wanted to be extra cautious given the past year. And until the court decides on inspiration and “feel” in music, I wanted to make sure I would never be in a difficult situation with one of my idols ever again.
On his moment of clarity:
My supersaturation came right after I performed on the BET Awards [in June 2014]. I dedicated the performance [of “Forever Love”] to my ex. And I came home, and my best friend of 20 years, Craig Crawford, said, “I saw your BET performance.” And I said: “Oh yeah! What did you think?” You know — excited. And he goes: “I gotta be honest with you, buddy. You’re kind of playing yourself. You look like a sucker.” And it hit me that I’d lost my perspective. What I thought was romantic was just embarrassing. And he said, “You should just go away for a while.” So I shut everything down. I took some time off to be with my son, and to be with my family and close friends. And the more time I took off, the more everything became clear.
On the rape-y talk in “Blurred Lines”:
Pharrell and I have never and would never write a song with any negative connotation like that. I think the song on its own — I don’t think that would have existed. Once the video came out, that changed the conversation.
And his bad joke in the GQ interview:
I was in Ron Burgundy character, just telling a bad joke. I would never — that was just sarcasm.
You can read the whole interview here.