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"A Beautiful World" was released in 2003 and was the debut album for the R&B singer Robin Thicke. Known then only by his surname, this was a re-issue of an album he put out the year before and finds him bringing a mixture of contemporary R&B and Soul in a release which would allow him to be known for his own work, rather than what he had done as a producer and writer for the likes of Brandy, Jordan Knight and others.
1. "Oh Shooter"
The album gets off to a great start and one which Hip Hop fans are likely to get excited about as it's a tune which was later remade for Lil' Wayne on his 2005 album "Tha Carter II". Here the main difference is that there's no rapping here whatsoever and instead we just get a very lively and jazzy piece in which the Hip Hop elements are brought in through the DJ scratches through the tune which really add to the experience here.
2. "A Beautiful World"
This is the titular track to the album and so one that the listeners are naturally drawn towards. We find that in this piece we're given something which I personally didn't think quite lived up to the quality of the rest of the album and was a little plain in comparison to what's to come through the rest of it. This is a calming and relatively dark piece from him and one which doesn't seem to go anywhere, but shows his Blue-Eyed Soul influences from the '50s.
3. "Suga Mama"
The standards increase massively as this one kicks into effect and we find that we get the sort of effect as expected in tunes recorded by the likes of Musiq Soulchild around this time. It's a funky little piece from him and with the production perfectly in-check, all he has to do is ensure that his vocals can stay up with that standard and it seems as though it's no struggle at all and comes together well for him.
4. "Flowers In Bloom"
Here we're given a mid-tempo piece with some rather urgent percussion on it to give you the impression that its moving much faster than it actually it. I thought that it was a pretty soothing piece in spite of the speedy breaks which are brought in on it as they seem to just slip into the direction of this mellow music perfectly without it sounding like a wack Drum & Bass tune.
5. "When I Get You Alone"
Sampling "A Fifth of Beethoven", this one was the singer's debut single and one which people are lively to be drawn towards due to its very familiar Disco backdrop pushing it through to give it all the energy required and from there he can comfortably come out with a vocal performance that he knows will be supported by the heavy beats which he's got there to give it the danceable feel you'd want it to have.
6. "Stupid Things"
He slows things right down for this one and I thought that in spite of this, he was still able to keep the standards right up by coming up with something that you'll probably never get out of your head. This is a very gentle love song from him and sounds to be very intimate between just him and his partner and he really gets the job done as he does things here. It offers a lot and keeps you involved throughout.
7. "I'm a Be Alright"
This is a fly piece from him and another piece that I thought would really get over with a broad range of listeners as it draws from late sixties musical styles and straight kills it in the process. This tune is something very typical of tracks for the 00s which borrow from those times as something sounding quite naive and fully-intent in doing little more than just uplift the listener with the feel-good nature of the music.
8. "Brand New Jones"
This was a real highlight to the album in my opinion and something that I can't see many fans of Neo-Soul from this time having any issuers digesting as it's quite straight-forward in what it does in coming up with full-on danceable material which has a very commercial feel to it when in fact it's done in a more underground style. It's the sort of thing that just makes you smile and will satisfy you no matter what your mood is at the time.
9. "Vengas Con Migo"
Although some may be put-off by the foreign-language title, you shouldn't sa this one has the California going for more typical English-language material here and really its only the hook where he changes things up in order to fit in-line with what exactly the rest of the tune is doing and where exactly the influences are being borrowed from. He does things well and manages to ensure that few are excluded from this very inviting piece.
10. "Make A Baby" (Lude)
After moving on from a nice and short one, we find ourselves taken right into a cut which sounds as though he's coming with something with a raw Funk feel that is taken from the early seventies sound in that genre when it was much more about bringing in Psychedelic Rock sounds than coming up with a completely fresh and original sound. He does things well here and manages to make good use of knowledge of how that style developed up to the early eighties to mix those contrasting directions in taking the music.
12. "She's Gangsta"
One of many big tunes on the album, I thought that this one was set apart from the rest as it sounded to take on much more Hip Hop in it and I was obviously drawn towards it for this reason. He does well to balance the smoothness of the general Soul from this tune together with its harder elements too in order to make for another piece that fits perfectly into this very diverse release from him.
13. "Lazy Bones"
This is another bright and colourful tune from him and one which really takes you away with its energy. I thought that it was another great inclusion to the album and although it may have many of the thing seen in tune found elsewhere on the album, I thought that these happy little dance tunes were something that you can't really ever get enough of and so are always welcome as a little extra meat in the album.
14. "Cherry Blues Skies"
The album ends with what was the titular track to this album in its original release. Here we have a socially-conscious piece from him and one that has him packing-in even more than he has elsewhere in order to show that he won't be done until he's covered all possible angles as possible when attempting to take on this record. It seems to draw things to a relevant close and will leave you satisfied in the process.
I thought that this was a great album from the artist. He fits in a lot here and although he may not have the same amount of variety as other contemporary Neo-Soul musicians had around this time, I thought that he made sure that this wasn't an issue as he ensured that each and every style he took on was completed as well as possible before moving on elsewhere.
Before getting his break as a solo artist Robin Thicke was a songwriter and over his career has written songs for the likes of 50 Cent, Christina Aguilera, Mya, Brandy, Marc Anthony, and Jordan Knight. And most notably Usher On his massive 2004 release Confessions. He has most recently worked with Lil Wayne and Jennifer Hudson on their latest albums. He gained fame for his own music in 2003 when he released his debut album "Beautiful World" led by the single "When I get you alone" Which was a big hit in the summer of 2002.
The album was first planned in 2000 and had a title of "Cherry Blue Skies" but was changed before release. Following on from the success of "When I Get you alone, this album was released on 15th April 2003 to moderate success with just 63,000 copies sold in the US alone. The woman featured on the cover of the album is Paula Patton, Thicke's wife who you may know from the film Deja Vu in which she starred alongside Denzel Washington as Claire Kuchever.
1. Oh Shooter
2. Beautiful World
3. Suga Mama
4. Flowers Bloom
5. When I get you alone
6. The Stupid Things
7. I'm A' Be alright
8. Brand New Jones
9. Vengas Conmigo
11. Make A Baby
12. She's Gangsta
13. Lazy Bones
14. Cherry Blue Skies
The album opens with this very funky soulful track which starts with a great bass guitar lick and Thicke's vocals are smooth and very flowing. This gets the album off to a decent start but there's more to come with the rest of the album. Some very nice piano parts and a nice funky flow add a nice touch on this track.
"A Beautiful World"
This is a lot slower than the opener and is a lovely ballad which is very soothing thanks to the soulful keys and vocals. This track really brings through his impressive voice. His falsetto is very good indeed and this is a great emotive vocal performance which adds a great touch to the song. A very good track.
This is another funky track but again with a soulful edge. It doesn't quite have the spark of the first track on the album but that catchy beat is very infectious and this is another impressive track with some great vocals which remind me a little of Jason Mraz in places. This showing off his versatility of course.
"Flowers in Bloom"
This is a ballad which has an up tempo beat. This seems a very happy track which has some great moments vocally and musically when the beat breaks down and gets lighter. This has a similar style vocally to Justin Timberlake and is another impressive track, Not quite the best on the album but very good nonetheless.
"When I Get You Alone"
The track sampled Walter Murphy's "A Fifth of Beethoven", which itself sampled Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. Songwriting credits thus went to "Murphy/Thicke". If you remember this song then you will know how catchy it is. The fantastic beat runs behind the great vocals from Thicke and his backing vocalists. Great stuff.
"The Stupid Things"
This is a really lovely ballad which is simple in it's delivery, The piano and Robin's vocals are what you hear and his voice is expressive and wonderfully emotive. This is up there with his best tracks and shows the variety of his music. This is a really wonderful song about saying sorry for the things you have done wrong in a relationship.
"I'm A' Be Alright"
This is a very flowing track which has a 70's style rock feel in the background with a catchy modern beat and some great bass hooks. Thicke's falsetto is again in use and works well and again shows the variety of his music with an up tempo track following a lovely ballad. This is a good track.
"Brand New Jones"
This track opens with a Jazzy piano part and then has some Marvin Gaye like gentle guitar strums it then develops with a very funky bassline which is a little Michael Jackson like and the fusion between these styles results in a very enjoyable track which is a fine toe tapper and one of the best tracks on the album.
This is a very catchy salsa pop/R&B track which reminds me a little of Santana's recent material. The Spanish Vengas Conmigo translates into "come with me". This is a very interesting track which again is a great example of his variety. A very enjoyable track which is another very good one indeed.
This track opens with a soaring guitar and then the beat comes in with a punch. This is another very catchy track and features some great guitar licks. This is a very impressive sounding track with a great strut. This would be a good one to dance to in the club and I'm sure lots of people would get up on the dancefloor.
"Make A Baby"
This opens with a gentle guitar and his gentle vocals, this track develops very well and once the drums come in it has a very Beatles like sound which works well. I love the way this track moves along and his voice shows great range as it's quite different from some of the other tracks on the album.
This is another very flowing track which features a punchy beat, It would be a little better if the beat was slightly tauter but that is a minor gripe as it soon develops a heavier more punchy beat. I like the interesting stop start melody of this track and it's a very enjoyable track which again has elements of The Beatles.
This is another fine catchy track which opens with a great vocal part and then the funky rock guitar and beat come in and what follows is a very catchy track which slows down and then builds again. This is another track which would be a great dancefloor track in a club. Especially with that guitar riff which comes in.
"Cherry Blue Skies"
This was the original album title and starts with a distorted guitar strum and then the funky licks come in with claps and the beat. This is a very strong ending track and has a great flow. Get ready for the beat as it kicks in after around a minute and then the song slows and then builds again. This is a great ending to the album.
I would like to award this album the full five dooyoo stars but I don't feel that it's quite strong enough, four and a half stars is nothing to be ashamed of but unfortunately I will have to award this album four stars as we only have full stars. This is a thoroughly good album which has superb variety and shows what a talent Robin Thicke is. If you like this then check out his others as they are arguably even better.