‘I Would Never Write or Sing Today:’ Why Pharrell Williams Says He’s ‘Embarrassed’ by Some of his Old Songs

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Pharrell Williams said he sees things much differently than in 2013 when the song “Blurred Lines” was released.

Because at that time, the song, which features Robin Thicke and T.I., was considered inappropriate by many, and the word “rapey” surfaced, mainly for the line “I know you want it.”

Pharrell Williams says he now understands the controversy surrounding his song “Blurred Lines.” (Photo: Harlem Children’s Zone’s YouTube page)

Williams talked about growth, fashion and the song in a recent interview with GQ. He admits that he has grown over the years and admits past “song content” he would “never write or sing today.”

“I think ‘Blurred Lines’ opened me up,” he stated. “I didn’t get it at first. Because there were older white women who, when that song came on, they would behave in some of the most surprising ways ever. And I would be like, ‘Wow.’ They would have me blushing.”

“So when there started to be an issue with it lyrically, I was, like, ‘What are you talking about?'” he added. “There are women who really like the song and connect to the energy that just gets you up. And ‘I know you want it’ — women sing those kinds of lyrics all the time. So it’s like, ‘What’s rapey about that?'”

Whether it was the #MeToo movement or just maturity that caused it, Williams said he now understands what the backlash was all about.

“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,” he explained. “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,” added the producer. “Even though it wasn’t the majority, it didn’t matter. I cared what they were feeling too.”

And besides the controversy the song brought, it also caused a lot of trouble for Williams and Thicke in court.

Because in 2015, a California judge said “Blurred Lines” ripped off Marvin Gaye‘s 1977 cut “Got to Give It Up,” and Williams and Thicke were ordered to pay $7 million. But last year the judge lowered that amount to $4.98 million.

Williams and Thicke also have to fork over 50 percent of whatever royalties “Blurred Lines” generate.

In other related news, the Neptunes member announced the date for his second annual “Something in the Water Festival,” an event in his hometown of Virginia Beach, Virginia, that combines concerts and panel discussions.

The next “Something in the Water Festival” will be from April 20 to April 26, 2020, three days longer than the 2019 festival.

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