Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” Groove
When I first heard this song I immediately noticed all the layers of rhythm ideas stacked up on top of each other to create the groove foundation for Robin Thicke’s super hit “Blurred Lines”. But, I did not want to use the song as a sequence to have fun and jam on top of it. I wanted to play all the parts I heard at the same time to recreate the feel/groove of the song. (Unfortunately, there is no twerking in my version. Just drumming
As I was putting all the parts together it reminded me so much of multilayered independence exercises from my book, In Depth Rhythm Studies - Advanced Metronome Functions In-Depth Rhythm Studies.
One of the first things I noticed were two cowbell/wood-block parts perfectly complimenting each other rhythmically. I am playing one of them with my Left hand on the cowbell mounted of my Hi-Hat. The other part I play with my Left Foot on the Lam-Block (Wood Block/ Jam Block etc…) I also noticed that throughout the main groove idea there is a steady Hi-hat + snare groove on top with the obvious and beautiful “& of 4” accented note. I tried to squeeze in most of its feel as well, and underneath it all my bass drum is keeping straight quarter notes.
This is what the “Blurred Lines” groove looks like all together.
There are two approaches that I think will make learning it a bit easier.
First Approach: Learn to play the top parts (Cowbell + Snare + Hi-Hat) first. Make sure it feels easy and very comfortable as you practice.
Now add quarter notes on the bass drum.
Before you add the remaining part (Left foot Lam-Block ) try singing it out loud at first to make sure that you know what it will sound like.
Then play it and you got it.
Second Approach: Learn both (Top-[Hands] and Bottom-[Feet]) patterns at first to get very comfortable with them. Treat them as ostinatos that you will be able to solo over.
Now start with the Hand pattern and before you try to play the Bottom part underneath it try singing it out loud first making sure that both, your brain and ears get used to it.
Since you can easily play each part individually why is it hard to put it all together? Your muscles don’t care; it is your brain that doesn’t allow it to happen easily. So we have to trick it a bit. As your muscle memory kicks in, all of a sudden “Blurred Lines” is a piece of cake.
Have Fun and Good Luck