As Robin Thicke openly mourns his dissolved marriage in his new album, the listening public doesn’t want to hear any of it – at least, that’s what first-week sales reports say. Paula, named after ex-wife Paula Patton, entered the Official UK Charts at No. 200, with 530 copies sold. Billboard reports that Paula fared better in the US with 25,000 copies, although the story remains the same: After reaching new heights last year, Thicke has fallen to a new low.
An ill-conceived PR campaign did not help matters: Paula arrived just a month after he first announced it, and efforts to promote it appeared rushed. Critics lambasted his “Get Her Back” video, featuring House of Cards-style texts, streaks of blood and Thicke pointing to his temple as if cocking a gun. (“[F]urther evidence that we’re romancing the stalker-esque,” The Guardian columnist Jessica Valenti said.) And in a Twitter Q&A, music listeners would bash his efforts while quoting his own “Blurred Lines.”
Before Paula dropped, some music listeners wondered if it would be Thicke’s version of Marvin Gaye‘s Here, My Dear, his 1978 rumination on the fallout of his first marriage. Here, My Dear debuted to mixed reviews and become Gaye’s lowest-charting album of that decade, although critics would be kinder to it in retrospectives. Based on Paula‘s first-week sales, Thicke may be receiving more comparisons to Gaye as time wears on. As with “Blurred Lines,” though, he shouldn’t expect those to be flattering.
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