Halftime Leisure

Critical Voices: Jason Derulo, Talk Dirty

April 18, 2014

Following the artist’s declining presence in the US since his initial splash on to the top charts in 2010, Talk Dirty is Jason Derulo’s shameless attempt to emulate the “Top 40” sound and get back on the map.

The album, consisting largely of synthetic beats supporting weak, cookie-cutter rap and entirely too much auto tune, reeks of desperation. The first song, “Talk Dirty” encompasses some of the most primitive lyrics put forward so far from the artist, as the bridge repeats, “been around the world, don’t speak the language/ but your booty don’t need explaining/ all I really need to understand is/ when you talk dirty to me.” But, this song, like most other tracks of the album, is laid down over a catchy beat that is sure to make it the newest overplayed song on the radio.

The worst part of this latest release is the fact that Derulo does actually have talent. His first appearance on the pop music scene with “Whatcha Say” was still catchy and auto-tuned, but in such a way that exemplified his talent as a singer and writer. He put his own twist on a beautiful refrain from an Imogen Heap original, “Hide and Seek,” and proved his ability to climb the charts while maintaining his own signature sound.

You wouldn’t know it by this album, though. Progressing with songs like “Wiggle” and “Bubblegum,” Derulo and his guest artists delve deeper into the rap that gives the genre its bad name.  It’s hard to decide which one is worse, as “Wiggle” repetitively instructs a woman, “you know what to do with that big fat butt,/ wiggle wiggle wiggle,” while “Bubblegum” hones in on presumably another woman’s “ghetto booty.”

Derulo tries to throw in a few love ballads to alleviate the distasteful nature of the album, including a joint effort with his girlfriend Jordin Sparks in “Vertigo.” However, when such loving, piano-based ballads like this and “Marry Me” are immediately preceded and followed by vapid beats, derogatory lyrics, and an overall lack of originality, the emotion is not quite believable.

Ultimately, this album will find success merely out of conventionality. The beats are undeniably catchy and the synthetic sounds that permeate the album are sure to appeal to America’s pop-loving population. However, in trading his originality for generic success, Derulo has given up the respect and recognition he once earned as an artist, and will undoubtedly continue down his slippery slope into oblivion.

Voice’s Choices: “Vertigo,” “Marry Me”

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