It could be the relatively short notice or the confusing name -- I would not have pegged him as a jazz artist, personally -- but it's happening, universe: The Robin Thicke Controversy Machine is coming to Ahwatukee, as one of the headlining acts of the Arizona Jazz Festival.
It may have taken us a while to cotton onto it, but enough people have certainly figured it out -- it's been moved to the Arizona Grand Resort & Spa.
Thicke tops a long list of big names -- Charlie Wilson, Erykah Badu, Chaka Khan, Keyshia Cole, Jessy J -- and he's something of a coup for the jazz festival, which gets him at the peak of his American fame after a few years as a second-tier pop star.
But if you're thinking about getting tickets -- which start at $65 for one day and $195 for three-day passes -- you have to answer one important #THICKE-related question: Do you really care about Robin Thicke by himself? Does anybody?
Because The Year of Robin Thicke -- and it has been; those caps are minimally ironic -- has been unusually dependent on other people, at least as far as transcendent pop stars go. His first leap into the broader consciousness came under the Robert Palmer Exception, in which a bunch of attractive, dead-eyed music video women make your skin crawl in a particularly unforgettable way.
The star of Robin Thicke's biggest hit was naked ladies, and the other star was Pharrell in a goofy outfit -- which was probably behind whatever anxiety led to all those gigantic hashtags with his last name on them. Stop looking at them! Look at me!
None of which takes away from the sheer gravity it exerted on the radio this summer. But it proved to be useful background reading when the event that marked his final transfiguration into the pop-star firmament was also dominated by a half-naked actress with dead eyes.
Robin Thicke at the VMAs should have been a valedictory performance -- here's the biggest song of the year, here's the guy who performed it, the end. Instead it was Miley Cyrus bursting all the way out of her shell with an egg tooth she'd had surgically attached to her breasts.
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Miley Cyrus will not be occasioning any Tumblr dialogues about race and cultural appropriation at the Arizona Jazz Festival, and the naked ladies probably will be kept to a minimum, and to be honest I'm not sure if anybody will even be wearing a goofy hat. I'm sure Robin Thicke will be a huge draw anyway, but he'll also still be looking for the big, tedious pop-cultural argument he finally initiates himself.