Second album ensures singer will not be forgotten

There have been few white artists who break into the selective and critical world of R&B/soul music.

Remember Remy Shand? Jon B.? Well, here’s one who won’t fade so easily into the background.

Robin Thicke (pronounced thick), who made a light splash with his 2002 release “Beautiful World,” is back with his sophomore album, “Evolution of Robin Thicke,” which was released Tuesday.

Thicke is a Grammy award-winning songwriter and producer that has penned songs for heavy hitters like Usher, Mary J. Blige, Michael Jackson and Christina Aguilera.

Who would have thought the son of “Growing Pains” dad Alan Thicke would prove himself to be the artist that would inspire me to actually buy a CD versus simply downloading?

The album is filled with songs that are reflective, redemptive, passionate and etched with a soulfulness that is undeniable. Although his sound may initially be compared to Justin Timberlake, Thicke’s vocals have a noticeably broader range than the falsetto that both share. Produced by The Neptunes and filled with guest appearances by Faith Evans, Lil Wayne and Pharrell, this imaginative album offers something for everyone.

“‘Evolution’ is about somebody who is soul searching, who’s got demons, drugs, sex, temptation and problems that he’s trying to make it through,” according to Clay Cane, freelance writer for Vibe.

Thicke draws notable inspiration from Marvin Gaye in tracks like “Got 2 Be Down,” featuring Faith Evans. The duo comes together to produce a smooth melody reminiscent of early Motown but with a modern twist.

Every great story that has ever been told is about a woman, so one has to imagine a woman inspired much of the 16-track fairy tale about love gained and lost. The Evolution of Robin Thicke, offers a soundtrack for every heartbeat that is skipped and every breath that is lost.

Love song “Lost Without U” appeals to the basic desire of wanting and being wanted. The combination of Thicke’s vocals in accord with the simplistic guitar background leaves you grooving past its redundancy.

Thicke further showcases his versatility by crooning more seductive pieces like “I Need Love” that conjure temptation in its most raw, artistic form. The sultry instrumental alongside the melody of his voice create an experience that can be considered euphoric.

As the track progresses, all inhibitions are forgotten and for four minutes and 55 seconds, you are teased, taunted and eventually rewarded.

“The Evolution of Robin Thicke” is truly an auditory journey through which you will not escape untouched.

This CD is a must-have for real music connoisseurs.

Grade: A+