According to a report from the Washington Post, Pharrell Williams recently admitted to reporters from GQ Magazine that he believes his song, “Blurred Lines,” with Robin Thicke on vocals, really was misguided in terms of its lyrics and theme.
During a chat with GQ reporters, Pharrell, the producer, musician, and singer, stated he often feels quite “embarrassed” over some of the songs in his large catalog. Perhaps the one he’s most embarrassed by is the 2013 track, the aforementioned “Blurred Lines,” which was on the Billboard Hot 100 for 12 weeks.
Moreover, the song was criticized in the mainstream media for the way in which it supposedly perpetuated “rape culture” and “toxic masculinity.” The Daily Beast famously referred to the song as “kind of rapey,” referencing one of the lines: “I know you want it.”
Pharrell stated to GQ that he didn’t really understand the backlash to the song at the time, which featured in its video women without much clothing dancing along to the song. The video was also directed by a woman. Williams stated that women really liked the track, and connected to the energy of it.
Moreover, he believed the lyrics weren’t typically unusual, considering women sing lyrics like “I know you want it” all the time. “So it’s like, ‘what’s rapey about that?'” Pharrell said to GQ reporters. Williams later came to realize that men use that sort of language when they’re justifying acts of sexual violence.
According to Pharrell, despite not acting in the manner suggested by the song’s lyrics, it doesn’t matter, because the effect of the song on the culture was deleterious to women’s experience of the world. Pharrell stated he suddenly realized that North Americans live in a “chauvinist culture.”
Furthermore, the song stirred even more controversy when the much-older Robin Thicke danced alongside a twerking Miley Cyrus at 2013 VMAs. The song lost video of the year to Justin Timberlake’s track, “Mirrors.”
The music video for “Blurred Lines” coincidentally launched the career of the supermodel, Emily Ratajkowski, who would later appear in Gone Girl in the following year.