Jason Derulo - Jason Derulo

Posted 6 years ago
Tags: Jason Derulo,

There was a time when pop artists wouldn’t have dreamed of touching rap, and vice-versa, but...

Jason Derulo Album Review

There was a time when pop artists wouldn’t have dreamed of touching rap, and vice-versa, but over the last two decades the lines between r&b, hip-hop and pop have become so blurred these differentiations have become almost meaningless. I like to call the brand of female-friendly, easily consumed and undeniably entertaining music currently dominating the airwaves hip-pop, but whatever label you want to affix to the sugary sweet music, it’s safe to say rising star Jason Derulo and his self-titled debut album wears that label with pride.

Jason Derulo is not a particularly complicated album, and not a particularly complicated artist –and maybe that’s a good thing. Before you even press play for the first time you know exactly what you’re going to get; synth heavy production exclusively from teen hip-pop mastermind J.R. Rotem, hooks so catchy you’ll have to sing along in the car (after checking to make sure no one’s watching), sweet, occasionally auto-tuned vocals from Derulo and, of course, songs about falling in love, being in love, cheating, and breaking up with the girl you used to love (not necessarily in that order). If that sounds like good times then you’d be hard pressed to top Jason Derulo, and if it doesn’t than, well, I frankly don’t think you were planning on listening anyway.

It’s impossible to continue this review without touching on Whatcha Say, the almost impossibly huge single that instantly catapulted Jason Derulo from a behind the scenes songwriter for the likes of Sean Kingston and Cassie into a legitimate star in his own right. Whatcha Say’s brilliance is in its simplicity. Rotem crafts a beat that sticks to its guns without sounding over-simplistic and Derulo delivers a smooth yet emotional performance that’s truly talented. My only qualm with Whatcha Say is that, if you think about it, the uber-addictive hook doesn’t really make sense (Who only meant well? Jason? How could he have meant well by cheating? How is that possibly all for the best?). I’m committing a cardinal hip-pop sin – over thinking. While I don’t think Jason Derulo has another hit of Whatcha Say proportions on it – lighting rarely strike twice – it does contain no shortage of cuts that are at least in the same sonic ballpark. The slightly more rocking In My Head is already a minor sensation, thanks in no small part to yet another arresting hook (notice a theme) and I can already see a stadium of teenage girls crying as Derulo croons over the acoustic Fallen during a packed show. Add in the crossover smash Love Hangover, which isn’t nearly as racy as originally hoped, and the slowly burning Encore and we’re looking at the birth of an artist who looks poised to dominate the charts for foreseeable future.

The best thing, and worst thing, about Jason Derulo is how thoroughly inoffensively entertaining it is. While it’s hard to be absolutely in love with this album (I’m not) it’s also pretty hard for anyone but the most rabid hater to really get worked up about it. If there’s one thing the album proves, over and over again, is that Derulo is a good artist who makes good music. On Blind he displays the full range of his vocal abilities, but ultimately it feels like he and Rotem are just filling out the standard break-up ballad checklist. Piano melody? Check. String section? Check. Slow breakdown at the midpoint? Check. It’s a similar story The Sky’s the Limit, a electro-house jam that uses some 90s song as its melodic basis (I can’t place it exactly and it’s killing me) and the insanely over-committed What If (sweet baby Jesus, you just met the girl and you’re already house shopping?). Still, none of these tracks are bad, exactly, they’re just…good.

But so what? Since when is good not good enough? So while I honestly won’t be listening to Jason Derulo again, I’m sure it will find a coveted spot in someone’s stereo, and that person shouldn’t be ashamed to put this album on repeat until they either get tired of it or collapse in a fit of hyperventilating adoration. If Jason Derulo wants to become great, and I have no idea if he does, he’s going to have to push the boundaries harder than this, but for the time being, we’ve got one of the, um, “goodest” hip-pop albums we’ve heard in a minute on our hands. Enjoy.

Jason Derulo's album now on iTunes

DJBooth Rating - 3 Spins

Written by
Posted 6 years ago
Get The PLUG app by DJBooth and get the best hip-hop writing and news delivered daily.

Sample Text - Sample Link

More from Jason Derulo

Featured Video

Hip Hop News

Lyor Cohen Leaves 300 For YouTube, YouTube is Clueless

The veteran record executive is street smart, but how will that play in the tech world? Read More
Posted 51 minutes ago by Bob Lefsetz

Holy Sh*t You Need to Hear Jidenna Freestyle on Funkmaster Flex

We had no idea the "Classic Man" singer was this nice. Read More
Posted one hour ago by Brent Bradley

J Dilla’s Legacy is an Example of Artist Celebration Done Right

Never has J Dilla’s legacy felt sullied by greed, drama, or any other pitfalls found in other artists’ careers post-mortem. Read More
Posted one hour ago by Brent Bradley

The Art of Music Publicity in the Age of Social Media

The rules of PR have changed. Read More
Posted about 2 hours ago by Nik Sharma

3-on-3: Kid Cudi “Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin’”

Three questions, three opinions. Read More
Posted about 3 hours ago by DJ Z

Don’t Get Your Hopes Up, But an André 3000 Comeback Seems Imminent

The original ATLien is showing all the signs of a full-fledged leap back into music. Read More
Posted 3 hours ago by Brent Bradley




Discover the best new songs, videos, and albums added to the Booth.