Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Jason Derulo

  • Future History [Warner Bros., 2011] ***
  • Talk Dirty [Warner Bros., 2014] A
  • Everything Is 4 [Beluga Heights/Warner Bros., 2015] A-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Future History [Warner Bros., 2011]
Definitely not as dumb as he pretends to think he is ("Breathing," "It Girl") ***

Talk Dirty [Warner Bros., 2014]
If I promise I won't quote myself again for a year will you let me remind you that Derulo's specialty is "pragmatically carnal sex so mind-blowing that three times he proposes matrimony behind it"? I can't resist, because beyond how he was a songwriter before he was a songsinger, that's all I came in knowing about Derulo except the Ian Nieman "club mix" of "Ridin' Solo" I put on my singles list in 2010. (Whaddaya mean, who's he? That Ian Nieman.) The median number of songwriters on these 11 tracks is five, and almost every one of the 11 keeps the addictive promise of "Ridin' Solo." Balkan Beat Box funks up the booty-owning ingenue whose opening bid is a sweet "Jason! Hee-hee-hee!" Snoop confides to the next booty proprietor, "Damn, baby, you got a bright future behind you." Timbaland induces his assigned booty to pop like bubblegum. And the tush twerks on for 38 minutes. But it's Derulo whose ebullience convinces me that he's dealing confidence not arrogance, pleasure not power. And it's Derulo whose "I swear that I will mean it" seals the soaring "Marry Me," a proposal at least as sincere as Al Green's once was and probably more so. A

Everything Is 4 [Beluga Heights/Warner Bros., 2015]
Though it's no surprise that it's less silly and romantic than the ebullient Talk Dirty, Derulo is proof that the pop machine comes in many models. Like the Chevy Malibu, Derulo has his blind spots. But his gimmicky pop r&b reminds me more of the peppy Ford Focus. At least three different ways to say ooh-ooh-ooh. Effective cameos from the iconic Stevie Wonder, the generic Julia Michaels, the useless Meghan Trainor, and the fat, deep, obscure Big Marv. Plenty of sex. Less love. Enough love nonetheless. A-

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