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“Everything is 4” Album Review: Derulo Maintains Ability To Make Hits For Radio


There is a trend in today’s music that says: it’s not about the album – it’s about the single.  A label doesn’t really care about the direction you’re taking the next album but they want to know what’s going to get played on the radio and in the clubs.

The single gets the ringtones, the commercials and the glory.  Luckily, Jason Derulo has the “Midas Touch” when it comes to singles in today’s music industry.

Jason+Derulo+FLZ+Jingle+Ball+Show+GE97cozBy8ll“Whatcha Say” – “Ridin’ Solo” – “In My Head” – “It Girl” – “Talk Dirty” — these and more have helped to collectively garner over 50 million in sales.

Derulo brings his energy and playfulness on every attempt and although it seems like he just released an album, the 25-year-old pop star has shown no slowing down as of yet – releasing his fourth album “Everything is 4.”

Derulo worked his magic again with the lead single “Want To Want Me.”  Derulo keeps the formula simple with a dance track supplied by smooth drums and energetic keyboard stabs.  Derulo displays his impressive range when possible, and his “regular singing voice” and falsetto offer an easy harmony to vibe out to.

The airwaves ate this song up right when it was released and it’s safe to say it’s not going anywhere for a long time.

Derulo has a couple of duets on this album.  His duet with Julia Michaels is an interesting one because they both have very different tones and it works well.  On the track “Trade Hearts,” Julia Michaels offers her raspy semi-jazzy delivery to a track produced by Pop Wansel who throws in a nice string arrangement later in the song.

The song deals with a couple struggling with their communication and wanting to know exactly what the other is thinking.

The feature by K. Michelle on “Love Like That” would’ve been better left off  the album altogether.  The production seems incomplete, as if you’re waiting for something exciting to happen and it never happens.  The topic is about Derulo sleeping with his best friend’s girlfriend – but it’s hard to believe anybody would risk that if the girl is K. Michelle because her voice is just awful and unsteady throughout the song.

acd38-10831739_340366429498430_946475767_nOne of the nicer surprises of the year has been the success of Meghan Trainor and at first it seems odd pairing her with Derulo on the track “Painkiller” but it works out perfectly.

The song depicts a couple who refer to each other as a high they love being on.

The chorus is energetic with both singing simultaneously: “Baby I’m back now feeling how I used to feel / You got me back now, stick around, this is for reals / you put it dow-dow-dow down my painkiller / you put it dow-dow-dow down my painkiller.” 

When listening to Derulo, often time it seems he gets caught up in his own schtick.   He personifies energy and sings his heart out on every track, but he can’t seem to get away from his “Trumpets” like routine.

He relies often on making sound effects with his voice or relying on sound effects to carry the weight of his song while he just “coasts” through them.  On the track “Pull Up” he puts the breaks on his voice screaming out “sccrrrr” and he proceeds to “pull up” to the girl of interest.

The lyrics are basic with him screaming “whoop whoop” in the back ground: “look at that sexy body, look at that trunk in the back / I’m a get a little bit ratchet because I never seen a girl like that.”  The song is one long childish sound effect.   He does something similar to this on “Get Ugly” except it works mostly due to production provided by Ricky Reed.

Derulo does his cheesy little things to the song, but it works even when he says stuff like ” ching a lang lang, ching a ling a lang lang.”   It’s a shame there is not a feature from someone like Fabolous on this track because this is right up his alley and would’ve filled in great in this track’s empty space.

“Cheyanne” is a track that’s as cheesy as it gets but it sounds like it has some “air play potential” anyhow.  But for all the cheese that is “Cheyanne,” the track “Love Me Down” sounds like a copy a paste track of anything currently out there by Pharrell or Bruno Mars.  “Try Me” features Jennifer Lopez and it’s Derulo’s attempt at giving a Caribbean feel to the album.  J-Lo’s appearance is harmless, but that’s because she doesn’t really do much with her voice – ever.  The production sounds like a 2015 remake of Lionel Richie’s “All Night Long.”

In trying to further push his numbers on the radio dial he teams up on “Broke” with Keith Urban and Stevie Wonder and it sounds just like it would – forced.  Stevie Wonder seems to be making the rounds lately with his harmonica and he didn’t let this opportunity pass either. . .unfortunately.

The album is more about “fun” than anything else just like the track “X2Cu.”   It’s a track where Derulo tells his current girlfriend that he can’t wait “for my ex to see you.”  It’s a clever play on words and Derulo vocally is at ease on tracks like these, which is more impressive than people realize.  His energy is never lost, and he layers his vocals perfectly more times than not.  The second part of “X2Cu” features Derulo slowed up and adding new melodies to the same concept and it’s probably the highlight of the album.

Jason+Derulo+Jason+Derulo+Visits+Elvis+Duran+7waJTdTKCqHlFans of Derulo will be disappointed that he seems to have done away with his adlib of  “Ja-Sonnnn Derulo” (although Trainor does it for him on the track “Painkiller.”)   He is what the industry wants now: an artist who can put out radio singles at a high rate but as far as putting together a complete album, he seems he hasn’t done that yet and probably (unfortunately) won’t.

Derulo isn’t trying to make you think too much, he really just wants you to dance and hook up.  Mission accomplished Jason.

Rating 6 out of 10

G.W. Gras

Twitter @GeeSteelio


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