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Jason Derülo - Jason Derülo

Jason Derulo LP

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 2 out of 5

JASON Derülo is the latest US sensation to hit the UK.

Derülo remains best known for his smash hit Whatcha Say, which became one of the biggest airplay hits of 2009 in the States.

But his album has been greeted with similar approval by US fans, who have lapped up his familiar brand of R’n‘B, pop and soul.

Boasting the slick production values of Jason’s mentor, J.R. Rotem (Rihanna, Leona Lewis), it’s an LP that channels the style of artists such as Akon, Nelly and Ne-Yo.

Vocoder vocals sit alongside smooth groove soul, while the back-beats all conform to the mix of slick beats and synth beds that make Timbaland’s brand of production so successful – only less pumped.

Admittedly, Whatcha Say has a catchy quality – but it’s difficult to know whethat that’s because it’s good, or because you’ve heard it on the radio so much that it’s almost part of your subconscious.

But the album itself quickly runs out of steam because of its desire to conform to the mainstream so slavishly.

Derülo, when he’s allowed to sing properly, has a decent set of soulful vocals that soar to falsetto whenever the opportunity allows.

But the reliance on vocoder, that reduces him to an Akon copycat, do him very few favours.

Ridin’ Solo, for instance, is the type of track that’s two a penny on US radio… as is the supposedly dance-rock based In My Head. It lazily ticks the formulaic boxes rather than really striving to do anything different.

While The Sky’s The Limit is even built around a cheesy sample/copy of Flashdance that does it few favours except wanting to make you turn it off.

Derülo’s vocals are at least given a better platform from which to shine on the piano ballad What If, even though the song itself fails to make that much of an impression – especially with a chorus that has the singer chanting “do do doo doo”.

The remainder of the album is similarly underwhelming… the acoustic-backed Encore providing a brief ray of hope and emerging as one of the better listens.

But in most respects, this is bland, knowing material that is content to stick to formula and nothing else.

Derülo may yet go on to emerge as an artist of some charisma and talent; sadly, his debut album lacks any of both.

Download picks: Whatcha Say, Encore

Track listing:

  1. Whatcha Say
  2. Ridin’ Solo
  3. In My Head
  4. Sky’s The Limit, The
  5. What If
  6. Love Hangover
  7. Encore
  8. Fallen
  9. Blind
  10. Strobelight
  11. Queen Of Hearts
  12. Strobelight