The news: If Robin Thicke's grand plan was to get his wife back with an impressive new album, his recent sales record does not bode well for a reconciliation.
Thicke's new album Paula — dedicated to estranged wife Paula Patton — and its accompanying music video have so far been described by media outlets as "downright scary," "creepy, desperate" and "uncomfortably voyeuristic." "Whatever happened to good old-fashioned chocolate and flowers?" asks the Guardian. "He's either a hopeless romantic or a full-blown stalker," writes Slate.
And the public has agreed. Paula's worldwide release has received a less than enthusiastic response. While the album has sold only 24,000 copies in the U.S., that's still much more than in other countries: 530 in the U.K., 550 in Canada and 54 in all of Australia.
This is not a joke. Among the 22 million people who live in Australia, only 54 brave souls decided to spend money to listen to such Shakespearean lines as "I should have kissed you longer/ I should have held you stronger" and "I gotta get to go, get to go, get her back."
The Washington Post helps put things into perspective: That's less than the number of times someone dropped the F-bomb in the swearing epic The Wolf of Wall Street, the number of passengers on a single Airbus A380 airplane and the number of people who retweeted this joke about Thicke's VMA Beetlejuice outfit:
Even for Thicke, this is creepy. Though the video for his single "Get Her Back" has over 5 million views, the vast majority of people clearly don't like what they see. At best, the album is a poorly conceived effort to capitalize on a high-profile separation; at worst, it publicly pressures a woman to return to a relationship that clearly had issues.
"The video shows a bloody, dejected and pitiful Thicke compulsively asking Paula Patton, his estranged wife, to come back to him," writes Mic's Elizabeth Plank. "Because after she's decided to pack up and leave, that's really all a girl wants to hear from the guy who drinks too much and embarrasses her through alleged infidelity. Thicke doesn't take no for an answer; he takes it as an invitation to be more persistent."
And as Thicke's gloriously disastrous #AskThicke Twitter Q&A session showed, people are not cutting him slack — because if you're going to publicly beg your wife to come back, you'd better be ready for a very public rejection ... from everyone.
#AskThicke I asked my wife if she wants your album. She said no. Does that mean yes?— James Alderson (@comedyjames) July 1, 2014
#AskThicke don't you think this is an ironic hashtag considering you're not one for asking?— Thomas Simpson (@Simmy41) July 1, 2014
Robin Thicke is getting terrible abuse on the #AskThicke hashtag. Maybe If he'd dressed less provocative & stayed sober it wouldn't happen?— Jim Sheridan (@Jim_Sheridan) July 1, 2014
#askThicke If one of your songs played in a forest and no one was around to hear it would it still be sexist and gross?— Harsh Lauren (@LaurenHarsh1) July 1, 2014