March 10, 2010

Test Spin: Jason Derülo

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Since the downfall of Chris Brown as the hottest singer in R&B, new artists have rushed to fill the void. With two hits under his belt, Jason Derülo has established himself as a worthy successor. However, his self-titled debut album fails to live up to the hype.  Derülo ventures more into pop than R&B, often bordering on sappiness. With the exception of maybe one song, no tracks on the album match the inventiveness of “Whatcha Say” or the energy of “In My Head.”

Featuring complete production by J.R. Rotem, the main producer of Sean Kingston, it is no surprise that many of the album’s tracks are so poppy that it can make you cringe. On “Forever” clone “The Sky’s The Limit,” jubilant synths soar in the background while Derülo wails about how his lover lifts him from the floor up to the heavens. In the ballad “What If,” he believes that a woman he sees for the first time is his soul mate without saying one word to her. The sugary pop sensibility of the song combined with the creepy undertones make for a weird, terrible track.

The hooks on nearly all the songs go nowhere or are extremely weak. “Encore” uses an awkward sexual metaphor that fails, when he begs his woman to “open the curtains and let me inside.” The album’s greatest synth line comes in the 80s throwback track “Love Hangover,” but it has an unmemorable chorus and the track plods along with any payoff.

If there is any other gem on the album, it is the “Bittersweet Symphony” sampling “Ridin’ Solo.” The combination of drumbeats and handclaps as Derülo croons about being single amplify the song’s message. It’s set to be the album’s third single, and has the potential to become an anthem.

However, this is not enough to save Derülo’s debut effort. With only three good tracks — coincidentally the first three songs — the album is an unsatisfying experience. Derülo simply remains another singer in the current trend of singles-artists with weak albums.


Jason Derülo — “Watcha Say”

Original Author: Matt Samet