Robin Thicke must be a hustler. Somehow, the son of a pop TV icon (dad Alan, he of the eyebrows and Growing Pains) has become the heir apparent to Justin Timberlake's kingdom of blue-eyed soul. Thicke (who once upon a time went only by his surname—telling) toiled in the singer/songwriter trenches with a middling amount of fame before he was signed to the Star Trak label. Operated by Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo of the Neptunes, Star Trak is also home to Slim Thug and Clipse, unlikely labelmates for a crooner with a delicate falsetto.
Thicke's second proper album, The Evolution of Robin Thicke, hoisted him onto the next logical level of fame, the one appropriate for a guy who wrote songs for Jordan Knight and looks like JC Chasez but maintains an impressive self-assurance—like Timberlake, Thicke's uncool history saves him instead of buries him, demanding as it is of some appreciation for the grownup version of the man. Still, it's unlikely that any of this would have really happened for Jason Seaver's kid if it weren't for "Lost Without You," a sizzling R&B-ish track that anchors The Evolution. Unlike most romantical slow jams, "Lost Without You" is a study in masculine insecurity and a wanting that's more of the "fulfill me" variety than "lay that pussy on me, baby." The song has all the lyrical eloquence of a man's typical postcoital output, but the instinctual appeals are endearing. Some hustlers make it work by laying all their cards on the table, dig?
Robin Thicke at the House of Blues, 1530 S. Disneyland Dr., Anaheim, (714) 778-2583; www.hob.com/anaheim. Tues., 7:30 p.m. $27.30-$30. All ages.