Robin Thicke — “Lost Without U”

Released: 10.3.06

Peak: #14

I suppose the decade’s second-greatest white R&B singer would serve as potentially disturbing fantasy fodder for women of a certain age, given that uncanny resemblance to his uncannily fatherly dad. But for 80s babies with no such baggage, RT offered a less hectic JT alternative. Not only is Robin less impressed with his own cuteness than Justin, whose DNA is irrevocably imprinted with boy-band-iness, but, maybe because he doesn’t piss his talent away on SNL, he’s released four albums in the time Timberlake’s squandered on a mere two. No wonder Weezy loves him — kid’s got a work ethic.

“Lost Without U” is that surprising rarity — a celebration of loving sex. Not acrobatic sex, or intricate sex games, or whatever other carnal convolution stands in for physical intimacy on most R&B tracks. And as a producer, Thicke makes so much from so little. The track is essentially a pair of acoustic guitar chords simulating a bossa nova, interrupted by that double-time cymbal fill, and held together by Thicke’s remarkably unstrained falsetto.

He makes even more from a needy lyric — not just a desperate “How does it feel?” (lifted from D’Angelo), but “Tell me how you love me/ And how you think me sexy.” As bald a plea for attention as Thicke offers up, though, he doesn’t whine. And judging by the video, which co-stars his foxy wife/ high-school sweetheart Paula Patton (the hot lesbian teacher from Precious), Thicke’s doing all right for himself.

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