Yes, it has one of the best hed/dek combos I’ve seen this year, but Jayson Greene’s look back at the spuming cultural wave known as the pop-R&B gigahit “Blurred Lines” doesn’t stop there. It aims primarily at Robin Thicke, though Greene’s got heat for everyone from Thicke collaborators Pharrell Williams and T.I. to Miley Cyrus. Sometimes the best culture-crit is steeped in a vat of acid. (That said, I regret to inform you that “Shooter” still goes superduperhard.)
Now, 10 years since its March 2013 release, “Blurred Lines” is a poisonous time capsule. In many ways, all of them unfortunate, it could be considered the song of the 2010s. Pick any disheartening pop-cultural trend of the past decade and chances are it applies to “Blurred Lines”: The hollow outrage cycle in news, increasingly reliant on hot takes tossed out with superhuman speed, often without a speck of human logic? The predatory power dynamics of the entertainment industry, and American society’s ongoing dismissal of consent? The increasingly litigious pop landscape, in which lawyers and music publishers fight for scraps, and every pop song feels safely Xeroxed from the last one? Every decade gets the songs it needs and the songs it deserves.