There’s Room For More Than One Blue-Eyed Soul Singer, So Stop Saying Justin Timberlake Is Copying Robin Thicke

February 27, 2013  |  

Source: AP Images


When Justin Timberlake announced his return to music, no one really knew what to expect. However, it seems that the majority of people seemed to think he would be bringing sexay back just like the good old days…that somehow, in the course of seven years, he couldn’t possibly have grown up at all. With that being said, I’ve come up with three reasons why Justin Timberlake may appear to be copying Robin Thicke, when in actuality he is NOT copying Robin Thicke.

First of all, anyone who knows anything about Justin Timberlake’s history in music knows that Justin Timberlake has always had some soul or R&B flavor, even back when he was in ‘N Sync. However, within the constraints of a pop boy band like ‘N Sync was not able to express it. It was only until the Celebrity album that Timberlake was able to write three songs, two of which became some of ‘N Sync’s most “urban” songs to date, Girlfriend, and Gone. This is when we started to see his strong use of falsetto, and his use of R&B style runs and ad-libs. By Timberlake’s first solo album Justified, we saw drastic increases in his use of falsetto, and even some obvious Michael Jackson influences. The use of R&B-sounding runs were in abundance on this album;  however, because of the fact that this was Justin Timberlake’s first solo album there was still under pressure from the record company, and thus he had to create a more pop album.The same was true for FutureSex/LoveSounds. Fast forward seven years to today with Justin Timberlake now being a successful actor and entrepreneur, and having taken seven years off from music, it’s quite obvious that JT is simply making music now because he misses it and without having anything to prove, we now have the sound that is The 20/20 Experience.

The next possible reason for similarities in styles is a reason that Robin Thicke himself actually came up with. While speaking to VIBE TV, Thicke spoke about “Suit & Tie,” and why the two of them appear to have similar style.

“I like the song; the thing about Justin and I is that we’re inspired by a lot of the same singers, Marvin Gaye, Al Green, Stevie Wonder …so when you’re inspired by the same masters, sometimes you’re gonna make certain songs that sound alike but I like the record. It grooves.”  – Robin Thicke

I’m sure some of you are probably thinking that “obviously Robin Thicke has to say something like that because he wouldn’t dare say that Justin Timberlake is copying him.” However, before you go passing judgment, perhaps I should remind you exactly why this is a very plausible reason. Justin Timberlake is originally from Memphis, yes, that’s right, the home of some of history’s most soulful music. In that case, it is very possible that Justin Timberlake would be influenced by the same sort of sound that Robin Thicke has been influenced by.

Justin Timberlake may also be adopting a mature sound because he might just actually be more mature. Can you believe it? After 7 years, and a brand new marriage, he might have actually just grown up? Older people tend to listen and prefer more mature sounding music, that’s just the reality of the situation. In addition to that, his fans have grown up too. It might actually be an insult to his fans if he brought out new material that sounded more like Justin Bieber or Chris Brown. Sure Usher did it by selling out his urban R&B style and adopting the sounds of the younger generation, but with Justin Timberlake making a lot of money as an actor, he doesn’t need to adapt to the changing music industry. In fact, he can make whatever type of music he likes, hence why we have his current sound…a sound that Robin Thicke did NOT invent, a sound that not only one white male is allowed to have.

***NOTE: I am a fan of both Robin Thicke and Justin Timberlake and have nothing against Robin Thicke in anyway.

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  • Drew Pierce

    Justin has done R&B for years and didn’t sound like Thicke, but the truth is Justin’s new album sounds EXACTLY like a Robin Thicke album. Heck he even copied his new video! But this isn’t simply white guys singing R&B AT ALL. But at least Justin is copying somebody good!

  • Bogus

    Then explain his complete and utter emulation of Robins video featuring a trio of topless women just like Robins?

  • Kevin

    Jt sold 960000 first wk robin thicke’s album couldn’t do that all yr. jt sells stadiums robin thicke does clubs n small venues jt is the man…

    • Katie

      Because yes, it’s all about making money and not the craft.

  • Morgan

    Thank you, this is the reason I do not JT.

  • Kenedy

    I’ve personally never heard anyone say one is copying the other, or compare them….I love them both

  • Alecia Murphy

    I’m glad someone finally did a post like this. I feel like the people making these generalizations aren’t listening closely. Robin Thicke is very talented and he plays to his strengths. Justin is very talented and plays to his strengths but saying they’re similar would be like saying Michael McDonald and Daryl Hall are the same simply because they are the same race and a minority in the same genre at the same period in time.
    It’s easy to make an instant judgment but it takes more than that to see the differences between the two.

    • You can’t use that as a comparison. McDonald and Daryl Hall have two completely different styles. Justin is trying the Robin Thick sound. Sounds to close.

      • One name. Prince kills both of them. I don’t usually compare artist but Justin is trying the Robin Thick thing to much.

  • MissLia

    I personally would rather listen to Robin Thicke any day. I’m all for artists whose styles evolve, but Robin has stayed true to himself through his music and it just seems more real to me. I don’t think I could compare either one of them to Jon B though, different styles…

  • Love both of them…

  • Henna

    From FB “Justin’s cd came out 11/5/2002 Robin’s came out 10/2002 and again on 4/15/2003. First singles, both came out 8/2002.” Just verified this and she’s correct.

  • York

    If they were both black would we even be having this conversation? Nobody is complaining about Usher and Breezy being in the same lane…good music is good music, I’ll run out for BOTH of their albums!

  • Babydoll 70

    Is this really news? Neither of them were part of the original blue eyed soul like say Michael McDonald (Doobie Brothers) and David Pack (Ambrosia).


    I thought JT came before Thicke!?

    • MissLia

      Technically, Justin’s solo career started about the same time as Robin’s. But before then Justin was doin his boy band thing while Robin was writing for other artists.

  • vrw

    I said it. His look is definitely Robin Thicke.

  • Zettai

    I agree with what Robyn says. He does not say there’s any copying, but that they have the same influences, which is true. (Love the Jon B reference from another commenter, BTW.) Also, JT’s first R&B song that he wrote with NSYNC was “Good For You” from their second album, No Strings Attached. (<—former NSYNC fan)

  • Sagittarius81

    I’ve been loving JT since 1997 when he was in *NSYNC, and heard about Robin since 2006, whoever saying JT is copying Robin needs to be slapped! Shoot, *NSYNC was blue-eyed soul since their album Celebrity came out in 2001.

    • Angela

      NSYNC had R&B tracks way before Celebrity.

  • SheBe

    Justin is actually from Millington (20 min outside of Memphis). He is being slated as a copy cat because he is a white man “sounding black” & Robin Thicke is in the same boat. Does it really matter? I will listen to Justin T. before I listen to Robin T. though.

  • rosetta’s stoned

    JT copying Robyn thicke? are people really saying this? CTFU. Justin Timberlake is a all around better artist the RT imo. That “future sex, love sounds” album was everything!!!!!! I went to that concert…OFF THE HOOK.

  • pretty1908

    but its hard to ignore the fact that suit and tie could easily go for a sex in the morning remix featuring jay z, i am all for singers growing and changing, but come on are we going to ignore the fact that he jacked not only robin thicke but other male artists as well, i loved nysync and i love justin timberlake but i know a copy cat when i see one

  • That would be like saying the both of them are trying to be like Jon B., who was also another one of my fave Caucasian singers… he’s even still putting out good music. Anywho, been a fan of both JT and Robin Thicke, back when he dropped Cherry Blue Skies… can’t wait until JT’s new album, and ready to see what Robin is working on as well, he had me cracking up on RHOH