Everyone remembers “Blurred Lines,” the summer pop hit of 2013 and the infamous soundtrack to Miley Cyrus’s scandalous VMAs twerk-fest all over the song’s author Robin Thicke. Those who love it call it “fun,” but many have scrutinized the lyrics and music video as borderline misogynistic. Thicke not only had to defend those claims, but also recently filed a lawsuit (alongside Pharrell Williams, the producer of the song) to protect the track from allegations of plagiarism. The children of Marvin Gaye claimed the singer ripped off the tune from their father’s 1977 hit “Got to Give It Up.”
Only today are Thicke’s and Williams’ new testimonies concerning the song revealed. Among discussions of credit, authorship, and the media, Thicke has one overarching claim to defend himself: “I didn’t do a single interview last year without being high.” He also confessed that Williams “wrote the whole thing pretty much by himself.” Why did he take credit? “I was envious of that.”
When asked if Thicke was present for the creation of the track, he told a different story than the one he gave GQ Magazine in May. In that issue, he claimed that he and Pharrell were listening to “Got to Give It Up” and were inspired by “the groove,” which prompted them to immediately start writing and recording the song within in the hour. Now, when asked if he was in the room during the creation, he comes clean. “To be honest, that’s the only part where — I was high on Vicodin and alcohol when I showed up at the studio… I wanted to be more involved than I actually was by the time, nine months later, it became a huge hit and I wanted credit. So I started kind of convincing myself that I was a little more part of it than I was… But the reality is Pharrell had the beat and he wrote almost every single part of the song… I was just lucky enough to be in the room.”
During his own deposition, Pharrell shed some light on why he allowed Thicke to take both credit and royalties (at least 18%) for the song. “People are made to look like they have much more authorship in the situation than they actually do. So that’s where the embellishment comes in.” He continued with an interesting description of why Thicke’s voice holds the song together, rather than the bass, keyboard, and musical elements he orchestrated. “It’s the white man singing soulfully and we, unfortunately, in this country, we don’t get to hear that as often, so we get excited by it when the mainstream gives that a shot.” Whether or not this implies racial discrimination is not totally clear, but Williams continues: “But there’s a lot of incredibly talented white folk with really soulful vocals, so when we’re able to give them a shot… to be heard, then you hear the Justin Timberlakes and you hear the Christina Aguileras… all of these masterful voices that have just been given, you know, an opportunity to be heard because they’re doing something different.”
Thicke continued to speak about why he constantly gave a false report on the song’s origins. He stated that he doesn’t remember his specific media comments regarding the song, because he “had a drug and alcohol problem for the year… I didn’t do a sober interview.” To those who remember the Oprah episode with Thicke and his son, he explained that he was drunk and taking Norco (“like two Vicodin in one pill,” he explained).
So how does all this fit into the struggle for “Blurred Lines”’ proven originality? It’s not clear, but Thicke’s and Williams’ own attorneys argued the depositions themselves were merely intended to distract and annoy plaintiffs, and they asked that the judge take little notice of them. Thicke and Williams have not released any further comments on their comments.