Pharrell Williams 'embarrassed' by his hit Blurred Lines

PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LONDON • It is one of his biggest hits, but American singer-songwriter Pharrell Williams (right) is now "embarrassed" by 2013's Blurred Lines, having realised that the lyrics are "rapey".

The song, which he recorded with singer-songwriter Robin Thicke and rapper T.I., was banned from a list of universities after its lyrics were panned for promoting a culture of date-rape. Its sexually explicit video was also slammed.

Williams, 46, defended the song in earlier interviews despite coming under attack for lyrics such as "I know you want it".

But in an interview with GQ magazine this week, he said he now understands how the lyrics could be seen as distasteful.

"I realised 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 behaviour," he noted. "It just matters how it affects women."

Williams said he was "born in a different era" when many of the things he grew up with that were considered normal would be viewed differently now.

"Some of my old songs, I would never write or sing today. I get embarrassed by some of that stuff. It just took a lot of time and growth to get to that place," he said. "I realise we live in a chauvinist culture in our country."

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 17, 2019, with the headline 'Pharrell Williams 'embarrassed' by his hit Blurred Lines'. Print Edition | Subscribe