Jason Derulo delivers, but drops the ball in originality

R&B Artist Jason Derulo’s self titled album hit stores with a sound to appeal to the widest margin of listeners possible. He and producer J.R. Rotem created a product that has its eyes on the prize. However, with all the positives, there are also the negatives.

The album opens with Derulo’s mega-hit “Whatcha Say”. The first thing we hear is the infamous singing “Jason Deruloo” which personally annoys me a bit. The song is great, but I believe if he didn’t say his name in the beginning it would be even better. Also, the problem of unoriginality is evident in Jason’s part by taking a sampled chorus from Imogen Heap’s “Hide & Seek”. Also, Autotune effects are employed, but they are less overwhelming than we are accustomed to.

His next track, “Ridin’ Solo” has him singing about the great time he will have outclubbing alone now that he’s single. The song can be used as a song for young teens coming out of a break up or something of that sort. Nothing wrong with this track at all, on the contrary, this is one of my favorite tracks of the album.

After, comes the probably the most exicting song of the entire album. “In My Head” is a song that Jason sings as he sees a woman come out of the club with a man he knows is nothing like what she wants. In his head, he sees her all over him and the song shows a side of cockiness in Derulo’s part. The song is very upbeat but after you listen to it for about the 50th time on the radio you begin to get sick of it.

Derulo slows things down in his next song “The sky is the limit” to a limit that is almost unbearable. It sounds like some song Miley Cyrus would sing for a Disney Channel movie. And of course, the one thing I absolutely hate about this song is the infamous “Jason Deruloo” introduction that I think that will forever be inappropriate. Listen, we clearly know who you are… if we didn’t we wouldn’t buy your CD. We know you are Jason Derulo.

Derulo continues his ballad section of his CD with the song “What If” where Derulo his woman to consider the most optimistic future possible for the two of them.  From the opening piano keys, you can see where the track is going long before it gets there.  The song is wide in scope but lacks imagination.

“Love Hangover” is a song that from the get-go seems it would be much better if Usher was singing it. In the song, Derulo recalls a night in which he obviously does not regret.  I was not impressed by this song from the first time I heard it. This was one of the songs from the album that I would probably omit if I was the one making the CD.

Jason craves for more of what a young lady is offering on “Encore”.  The song is a sparingly obscure sexual metaphor, but the vagueness of the lyrics makes it suitable for countless spins on daytime radio.  “Strobelight” perfectly conjures a serene party vibe.  The atmosphere of the club oozes from the speakers.  The “snake charmer” keyboard riff and vocal effects have a hypnotic effect.  The title is self explanatory. “Encore” is one of my favorite songsin the album. The song, although being a metaphor, is upbeat and like I said before a song you probably will listen to at clubs for years to come.

Hand claps and acoustic guitars characterize the soundscape of “Fallen”.  The trip over your tongue drum rolls and percussion show clear southern rap influences.  Slight scratching sound effects offset the track nicely.  “Fallen” is admirable in how it combines the simplest elements from many genres into one seamless package.  Derulo, to me, is basically singing a part two of the song “What if” when he says, “Now I can’t predict what the future holds. But I’ll fight forever to keep you close” seems like the woman he asked for a future together denied him or asked him about how faithful he would become.

Although I enjoyed this album, Jason Derulo is like that shiny new sports car without much going on beneath the hood.  Its smooth sound and easy feel will keep club goers dancing and liquor pouring well into the AM hours.  Unfortunately, it offers very little true substance to offset its style.  Derulo’s reluctance to dig deep creates an impenetrable wall of superficiality that will turn off R&B purists looking for depth of emotion.


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