Pharrell Williams admits he is 'embarrassed' by 'Blurred Lines' lyrics

15 October 2019, 16:12

Nicky Idika

By Nicky Idika

In a new interview with GQ, Pharrell Williams opened up about how the 'Blurred Lines' controversy helped him grow. He also says he didn't previously realise that some of his songs "catered" to chauvinist culture: "That blew my mind."

In 2013, Robin Thicke's 'Blurred Lines' featuring Pharrell Williams and T.I. was a massive hit. The controversial song was nominated for two Grammys before it landed them in court over copyright infringement claims from the estate of Marvin Gaye. Now, six-and-a-half years after 'Blurred Lines' was initially released, Pharrell Williams has admitted that he now finds some of his old songs "embarrassing".

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In a new interview with GQ, Pharrell opened up about the criticism 'Blurred Lines' received and says that there are certain songs he wouldn't write or sing at this point in his life.

Pharrell Williams speaks on stage during 2019 Global Citizen...
Pharrell Williams speaks on stage during 2019 Global Citizen... Picture: Getty

"Some of my old songs, I would never write or sing today," he told the publication. "I get embarrassed by some of that stuff. It just took a lot of time and growth to get to that place."

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When asked whether the #MeToo movement changed his perception of these songs, Pharrell explained that it was 'Blurred Lines' that actually helped evolve his thinking.

"I think 'Blurred Lines' opened me up. I didn't get it at first," he explained.

Blurred Lines Pharrell Williams
Blurred Lines Pharrell Williams. Picture: UMG

"And then I realized that there are men who use that same language when taking advantage of a woman, and it doesn't matter that that's not my behavior. Or the way I think about things. It just matters how it affects women. And I was like, Got it. I get it. Cool. My mind opened up to what was actually being said in the song and how it could make someone feel."

He added: "I realized that we live in a chauvinist culture in our country. Didn't realise that some of my songs catered to that. So that blew my mind."

Although 'Blurred Lines' was initially a huge hit, listeners soon began scrutinising the lyrics and recognising the predatory nature of some of the sentiments expressed in the song (eg. "You're a good girl/I know you want it"). 'Blurred Lines' was even called "the most controversial song of the decade" by The Guardian.

Not only did the song prove controversial in the court of public opinion, it also became a matter for the court of law when the family of Marvin Gaye alleged 'Blurred Lines' was similar to the late singer's 1977 song, 'Got to Give It Up'.

The prolonged copyright infringement lawsuit against Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke finally ended last year, with the two ordered to pay $5.3 million in damages and give over 50% of the song's future revenue to the family of Marvin Gaye.