Robin Thicke’s Risque Lyrics Create Controversy, but Boost Popularity

Music is an outlet for many. Whether listening to it is routine, therapeutic, or simply for pleasure, the music we listen to can often determine our mood. Just a catchy beat can make us want to dance. Recently, however, numerous "dance" songs and their artists have been receiving increased negative media attention, such as Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines." Despite the negative feedback, at the end of the day we're still talking about them; they still show up on Facebook and Twitter conversations, the radio, and occasionally the news. Does this overabundance of media attention make what these artists are doing right or does it force us to reconsider how much importance we place on social media input?

Robin Thicke's single "Blurred Lines" has been ranked number one on Billboard charts for 14 weeks, an accomplishment for any artist. I'd attribute his success to the song's catchy tune, which is what initially caught my attention. The music makes you want to dance without the need for an in-depth analysis–it's just something to listen to while having a good time. Once people started looking past the catchy melody and examining the lyrics, Thicke began receiving negative attention from fans and critics who vented through popular social media outlets. The content of the song and everyone it offends consumed Twitter and Facebook. People even constructed memes about the song and spread them throughout social networks.

This is not unwarranted; the lyrics are misogynistic and inappropriate, a pretty serious subject matter to be singing about in a song that was meant to be played in bars, clubs, or the occasional party. But if we're going to blame Robin Thicke, shouldn't we also be blaming artists like Drake, J Cole and Lil Wayne for their misogynistic and or degrading comments? Could we only be looking at "Blurred Lines" because it is constantly in our faces?
"Blurred Lines" has been banned from playing in bars in five U.K. universities. In Wisconsin, a dance coach was fired for having her high school team perform an edited version of the track at the school's first football game. Melinda Hughes, a satirical performer, put together a parody of the song, "Lame Lines," which can be found on YouTube. All of these actions are only further increasing the amount of attention this song is getting. If we're so disturbed by its message, why are we at the same time so consumed with publicizing it?

At the end of the day, no matter how you slice it–sex sells. Thicke's intentions and hopes become irrelevant. We're talking about one song months after it came out–almost blind to the similar ideas that are expressed in Thicke's latest song, "Give It 2 U." Are we overlooking this song because of its catchy tune as well or will it soon blow up on Twitter and Facebook once enough people have examined the lyrics? Will this song and others like it also be banned from college bars? It's time for our society to learn the delicate balance between making things public and overstating them.