Pharrell Regrets “Blurred Lines”

The musician looks back on the controversial 2013 hit in an interview with GQ.

In a refreshing turn of events, Pharrell has denounced his 2013 track “Blurred Lines.” The song, a collaboration with Robin Thicke, stirred controversy upon its release, both because of its provocative video and lyrical content, which many criticized for promoting rape culture.

The song’s creators tried to, on multiple occasions, justify the song’s lyrics, saying they were actually empowering—even feminist. Pharrell himself, in an interview with Pitchfork from 2014, defended “Blurred Lines” by saying “When you pull back and look at the entire song, the point is: She’s a good girl, and even good girls want to do things, and that’s where you have the blurred lines.”

But five years on, he feels differently. In an interview with GQ, the musician shares that “[he] didn’t get it [the controversy] at first, because he saw some women be very welcoming and excited by the song. He didn’t understand how the lyrics could be interpreted as promoting rape culture: I know you want it—women sing those kinds of lyrics all the time. So it’s like, What’s rapey about that?” He continued, stating that the realization that the lyrics were problematic came when “[he] 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 [his] behavior.” Pharrell understood that the way he felt about the issue didn’t matter either, the only thing that mattered was how it affected women. 

My mind opened up to what was actually being said in the song and how it could make someone feel. Even though it wasn’t the majority, it didn’t matter. I cared what they were feeling too. I realized that we live in a chauvinist culture in our country. Hadn’t realized that. Didn’t realize that some of my songs catered to that. So that blew my mind.”

It’s been a long time coming, but we’re glad Pharrell realized all these things. A lesson learned!

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