Why is “Blurred Lines” so popular?

Screenshot: Ryan Glaspell

For some the answer is obvious, for others, it’s a burning inquisition that ceases to be answered. What is it about the Marvin Gaye-esque, groovy single off of Robin Thicke’s new album that is generating such a huge response? The censored and uncensored(NSFW) music videos combine for over 200,000,000 views. Sure, the scantily clad models prancing around help those numbers, but what about its chart success? “Blurred Lines” recently broke the record for the longest reigning song on Billboard’s R&B charts, stealing the throne from Mary J. Blige’s “Be Without You.”

Is it because the song is so musically brilliant? Maybe Robin Thicke paid buckets of money for great marketing and advertising. Others may say the go-to solution of, “it’s the illuminati!” More than likely, the success comes from a more than one source.

If we pull ideas from modern society, we could attribute it to a number of things.

Check the social media.
Notice those colorful, bold hashtags at the beginning of the music video? Functionally, they don’t directly serve a purpose. People can’t click on those or search for them. What it does, though, is throw the bait out there. Step one: you watch this catchy, slightly (or severely for the NSFW) controversial video. Step Two: you do what anyone from this generation does, tweet about it, and they did.

Three heads are better than one.
Robin Thicke has been floating around the charts for years, but “Blurred Lines” marks his first #1. It also marks his first collaboration with T.I. and his second with Pharrell. I discussed the advantages of collaborating with other artists in a post two weeks ago. T.I. has experienced huge hits, and Pharrell just struck it big while joining forces with Daft Punk in the song “Get Lucky.” Combining three fanbases, especially from three different genres, increases the amount of people that want to listen to it.

People talk about it.
Whether you’re blogging feministic fumings in response to the suggestive lyrics and lack of clothing in the video, or writing a self-professed five star review of the song, it is being discussed. If enough people are talking about, it will garner attention. Did everyone watch Rebecca Black’s “Friday” video because it was a stellar piece of musical art? I sure hope not. Yet it has 58 million views on YouTube. Due to its controversial discussion that it has generated, everyone knows about “Blurred Lines”. Controversy truly does love company.

It’s a good song.
Critics rev up your engines I’m inputting opinion. This is a commercially “good” song. It has rhythm, melody, dynamics, and by golly it is fun to listen to. It held the Billboard’s top spot in the HipHop/R&B charts for 16 weeks,which is a record. There are many others who think it is a good song too. There is a little bit of seductive falsetto, some sly rapping and, and here’s the haymaker: a cowbell-heavy beat. There are definitely other factors that make “Blurred Lines” so popular, but credit has to be given when credit is due.

What are your opinions? Is “Blurred Lines” worthy of its fame, or is it through eye candy and shock factor that it is the hit that it is? Some say it’s because of it’s similarities with Marvin Gaye’s “Got to Give it Up,” or the number of beats per minute. What do you think?

Comment below with your thoughts.

Thanks for reading.


One thought on “Why is “Blurred Lines” so popular?

  1. Interesting direction (Robin Thicke is really a gravy train for you right now, huh?). I might quibble a bit with the fit of this one for your blog – I’m not quite seeing the “changing communication in the music industry” focus here as before – but you’ve got some rich examples and are really reporting on the discussion. Just be sure to keep your mission statement the focus – it’s what sets you apart. As a secondary note, this could really stand to be linked to your previous post on Thicke (apologies if you did and I missed it).

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