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Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Track-by-Track: Jason Derulo

As soon as Chris Brown's Forever hit it big, I knew that the same swooshy, synthy r&b sound would be ubiquitous in years to come. Now Jason Derulo's made an entire album of the stuff, and despite being pretty concise compared to other albums of this genre, it's certainly a mixed bag.

1. Whatcha Say - It's hard to accurately review this, since so much (aka: the best part) is borrowed from the Imogen Heap song. Without the lengthy sample, this would be pretty boring. Luckily, the hook transforms this into something better. Annoyingly, this begins the trend of Jason singing his name over the beginning of almost every track. 8/10

2. Ridin' Solo - Autotune to the max! Beyond that, though, the uptempo hook is ridiculously catchy. The verses less so. His voice sounds so strange here, but it gets high marks for that chorus. 7/10

3. In My Head - The second single, and one of the strongest tracks on the album. It's derivative in so many ways and sounds like so much already out there, but the melody is dangerously catchy. 8/10

4. The Sky's The Limit - This adheres to that Forever sound I mentioned earlier. Swooping atmospheric synths build up to a chorus that should be stronger than it is. Still, I'm happy to see another reasonably strong uptempo. 7/10

5. What If - Beginning with a ridiculously dramatic spoken intro, this is where the album takes a potentially dangerous turn into the banal. It's an average r&b ballad with one catchy bit in the chorus. Otherwise, completely forgettable and too overproduced for its own good. 5/10

6. Love Hangover - Thankfully, we're back to uptempo territory here. This is really pretty fantastic... probably my favorite track on the album. Everything works here. It's a great combo of dance/synth elements and straightforward r&b. 9/10

7. Encore - The last strong(ish) track of the album (though it begins with him singing is name again). His vocals are pretty strong here and I love the drums in the verses. The chorus is less than spectacular, though, which stops this from being a standout. 6/10

8. Fallen - Boring stuff. The lyrics are stupid and the melody goes nowhere. It's instantly forgettable. 4/10

9. Blind - A big ballad to end the (short) album, and it's nothing to write home about. The chorus is a letdown, yet again. It just stops the song from going anywhere. 4/10

Album Grade: 6.4/10

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