Before playing Jackie to Timberlake's Marilyn -- or Dante to Jon B's Virgil -- and before being the grist to Miley's millstone, he was just Thicke, an ambitious song-peddler earnestly hawking Jamiroquai-esque long-haired, blue-eyed soul over Beethoven beats and doing gratuitous Sprite ads at Andre Harrell's behest.
A decade later, Robin Thicke has mastered the art of making slick, sophisticated r&b pop more than anyone since Hall & Oates, freeing him from the promotional whims of label execs. He's his own man now, even though like most contemporary R&B artists, he's never really freed himself from the innovations of his musical inspirations. But that's no huge bother for us, because whether Marvin Gaye is rolling in his grave or dancing in it, songs like "Blurred Lines" keep our bodies moving during these turbulent times. -- Winston Groman