clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Robin Thicke was too drunk and high to infringe Marvin Gaye's copyright

New, 93 comments

Everything's a remix, especially when you're on Vicodin

For better or worse (and by worse we mean indefensible), Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" was one of the biggest songs of 2013. However, because it pretty strongly resembles Marvin Gaye's 1977 hit "Got To Give It Up," Gaye's family sued Thicke, Pharrell Williams, and rapper T.I. last fall for ripping off the soul legend's copyright. So, perhaps succumbing to the pressure, Thicke leaned on what could only be a last-ditch defense, telling lawyers in April, "I was high on Vicodin and alcohol when I showed up at the studio." This is pop music in 2014, people.

This is where we defend Robin Thicke. We're deeply sorry.

It should be noted, of course, that Thicke might have a case, his being a drunken idiot notwithstanding. The wholesale appropriation of black music aside, "Blurred Lines" seemingly didn't sample Gaye's song. It may have been inspired by it — according to GQ, Thicke told Pharrell "Got To Give It Up" was one of his favorite songs and he wanted to do something like it — but they didn't lift any portion of the original track for their hit. At that point, you can pretty reasonably say everything is a remix and that the future of music depends on creation that often looks a lot like this. And then you should pray you never have to defend Robin Thicke again.

But what's happening here is much weirder. Robin Thicke now claims he was in a Vicodin-induced fugue state last year and can't really remember all the things. He also effectively passes the responsibility on to Pharrell since the producer-in-the-funny-hat apparently wrote and produced most of the song. How can we hold him responsible for his actions, even if it means lying to a lot of reporters? We'll just say it: What's going on?