Release Date: July 30
Label: Star Trak Entertainment, Interscope Records
When it comes to Caucasian soul singers, you'd be forgiven for thinking 2013 was going to be Timberlake's year. And, in fact, JT's album did do some pretty impressive numbers.
But if you ask which singer ran the summer, there can be only one—and that one is Robin Thicke. He spent years building a rep in R&B circles, but out of nowhere, "Blurred Lines" became the crossover song of the summer. The rest of his album is a mix of pop and more traditional R&B sounds. The jazzy "Top of the World" is one such highlight, while "Ooo La La" might be the record's best song: It bubbles along a lush, insouciant disco groove that bests anything on the new Daft Punk album, while Thicke works out his best falsetto MJ imitation. Other tracks have more commercial-friendly credits (Dr. Luke, etc.), but for the most part, Thicke has brought a poised, confident R&B record to the pop charts. Your move, JT. —David Drake