Album Review: Jason Derulo – Future History

September 27, 2011 at 4:27 pm 2 comments

For fans of: Usher, Chris Brown, Black Eyed Peas, Ne-Yo.

During my time as a reporter for OurStage Magazine in the fall of 2010, I was asked to interview Jason Derulo. Being more of a rock junkie, I didn’t know much about him. In preparation for the interview, I did several hours of research on Jason’s life. Once I started getting to know his story, I became fascinated by him. He was younger than me by a year, yet had been writing songs for hip hop’s megastars since he was only 16, and had recently been the opening act for Lady Gaga‘s Monster Ball, one of the biggest tours of all time.

I downloaded Jason’s eponymous debut album, and though I only recognized one song, I was thoroughly impressed by the rest. The record had a perfect mix of catchy club hits and soulful ballads, all written by Jason himself. By the time I was on the phone with Mr. Derulo, I was a full-blown fan. I learned even more about Jason during my interview with him and gained a lot of respect for him as an artist and songwriter (check out my interview here!).

When the lead single from Jason’s sophomore record, “Don’t Wanna Go Home,” dropped, I knew this album could very possibly be even more phenomenal than the first. I couldn’t be more pleased to bring you my review for that record, Future History.

The album opens with the lead single, a song that somehow flawlessly manages to sample both Robin S.’s “Show Me Love” and Harry Belafonte’s “Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)” against a pulsing background. With it’s catchy melody, fun lyrics and dance-worthy beat, this song is Derulo at his finest.

Following “Home” is the whistling tune “It Girl,” the album’s second single. A midtempo love song, “It Girl” doesn’t have the fiery energy of the first track, but it builds up nicely with a marching drum beat and layered vocals. Though I’m more of a fan of Derulo’s bouncier tracks, this song works, mostly because it’s his. If this were a Justin Bieber song, it would probably make my stomach turn.

Future History picks back up again with “Breathing.” With a synth-soaked early 90’s club beat and quoteable hook “I only miss you when I’m breathing,” this song is sure to be a hit with fans.

Beginning with a haunting piano line accompanied by a chorus of equally dark strings, “Be Careful” is a standout track on the album. The song takes on an interesting lyrical theme, a romantic encounter with a fan that leads to her stalking Jason. Check it out in the player below!

“Make It Up As We Go” is driven by a fast beat and Nintendo-like synths in the verses, but the chorus seems to hold back a little. “Fight For You” is another Derulo standard, a midtempo beat that has a bit of a tribal touch to it, especially in the bridge, which sounds almost like a modernized track from the Lion King soundtrack.

“Bleed Out” begins with heavy breathing and airy vocals before launching into what sounds like the beat from Katy Perry‘s “E.T.” (can someone make a mash-up of these two, please?). Like “Be Careful,” the dark tone of this song is a welcome contrast to the poppiness of the rest of the album, and the vocal acrobatics in the end of the song are nothing short of amazing.

I was hoping to get through the entire record without a low point, but I must admit that “That’s My Shh” is a surprisingly disappointing track. This slow R&B number that describes intimate moments with a girl will probably not get you in the mood, rather, only get you to google the lyrics in “Did he really just say that?” disbelief.

Luckily, Future History bounces right back after that misfire with “X,” which instantly recalls the pumping sound of “Don’t Wanna Go Home.” Though the chorus is weak lyrically (simply “I’m in lo-o-o-o-o-o-ve with my ex”), the song is so catchy that it really doesn’t matter.

Check out Jason’s dancing skills in the “Don’t Wanna Go Home” music video!

 

The standard version of the album ends with “Dumb,” a heart-wrenching ballad that recalls the sounds of Jason Derulo tracks “Blind” and “Encore.” “Dumb” puts the club beats to a rest and allows for Jason’s most emotional vocal performance to date.

The iTunes deluxe version of Future History includes two bonus tracks, “Overdose” and “Give it To Me.” Both are fun party tunes, the latter sounding like a Black Eyed Peas B-side with it’s “Pump it up!” chants.

Future History is undoubtedly a successful step forward for the 21-year-old Derulo. He knows his market, he knows his strengths, and he knows how to make catchy, well-produced songs. In a scene overrun by pop princesses, Jason continues to stand out as one of the best male performers, with a long career ahead of him.

Rating: 4.5/5 – A-

Tracklisting:

1. Don’t Wanna Go Home
2. It Girl
3. Breathing
4. Be Careful
5. Make It Up As We Go
6. Fight For You
7. Pick Up The Pieces
8. Givin’ Up
9. Bleed Out
10. My Shhh
11. X
12. Dumb
13. Overdose (Bonus Track)
14. Give It To Me (Bonus Track)

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Entry filed under: Album Review: Grade A, ALBUM REVIEWS. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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