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Jason DeRulo didn't find it too hard to slot himself into the industry. As a ready-made Pop star (who sings, dances and does whatever else you need him to) his first album went down a storm. Well, maybe it was a bit hollow and predictable, but it pleased those who it needed to. 2011 saw the release of his second - "Future History" - which followed in exactly the same path. A couple of big singles got things warmed up, before he dropped a fresh 12-track body of work to keep the fans happy. It may be devoid of features, but it's given the helping hand of some of the industry's most sought-after producers.
Unlike his unimpressive first album, DeRulo actually has quite a bit of substance with this one. It comes with the cheesiness, but that won't deter you from listening this time around. For starters, check "It Girl" and you'll be able to decide whether or not it's for you. He hits the mark for engaging Pop music; knocking up an ideal way to drag the listeners in. From there, he's got more must-haves like "Make it Up As We Go", "Dumb" and "Pick Up the Pieces" to keep the great stuff flowing.
From time to time, DeRulo falls into the habit of moving into overly-drab talking points and he's often backed by irritating instrumentals. The inconsistencies of the album become clear when aforementioned tunes can be found amongst pointless filler like "Be Careful" and "X". Also, "Don't Wanna Go Home" is another sign of the release's weak points. There, he uses a Robin S. sample wastefully to get himself into the charts. Although not as obviously as that one, a few of the other tunes take on that forceful commercial-driven feel. It drags the album down in places and makes it feel hit-and-miss.
All in all, the album is a pretty direct album from DeRulo. Again, it's a concise release and contains a safe number of tunes, but it serves its purpose and doesn't try to be something it isn't. Jason isn't Chris Brown, nor is he Bruno Mars, and he understands that he can't fit into the shoes of the artists in his musical sphere, so "Future History" is a great reflection of this. If you're looking for something easy-going, which does as it says on the tin (or singles, in this case) then the record doesn't disappoint. The only obvious problem is his polarising choice of instrumentals - which range from Pop-R&B to all-out House.
It's a shame that the Rick Ross version of "Make It Up As We Go" doesn't appear on the album, but even without any guests, DeRulo results in an album which will satisfy the average Pop fan and keep them going until his next release eventually turns up. He might not have the personality of the other musicians working in the field, but his releases fit the mould for Poptastic guilty pleasures that keep the youngsters happy.
Jason Deruloooooooo..." arrived on the scene in late 2009 with his debut hit, 'Whatcha Say', which went on to be a US Billboard number one. Whilst the follow up singles fared well in the US, it was the UK that really fell for him. His breakthrough came when there was a shortage of solo male R&B singers, I know - heaven forbid, so Derulo filled the gap as a cross between Usher and Chris Brown. Originally a songwriter, Derulo fulfilled his ambition to be a solo performer with his self titled debut album, but now with a lot of his competition back on the scene, do we really need someone who takes pleasure in singing their own name?
1, Don't Wanna Go Home (3.26)
2, It Girl (3.12)
3, Breathing (3.54)
4, Be Careful (3.34)
5, Make It Up as We Go (3.10)
6, Fight for You (4.02)
7, Pick Up the Pieces (3.34)
8, Givin Up (3.50)
9, Bleed Out (4.08)
10, That's My Shhh (4.21)
11, X (3.32)
12, Dumb (3.50)
13, Overdose (3.19)
14, Give It to Me (3.24)
'Don't Wanna Go Home' served as the lead track from the album and I found it immediately dislikeable. For me it just screamed Euro-pop and was such a mash up, sampling both 'Show Me Love' and 'Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)'. Having said that, it did come to grow on me - having heard it repeatedly on nights out. I doubt the older listeners (sorry to stereotype) will find it appealing, and haven't had the experience of having it drilled into their heads every weekend. Lyrics such as, "From the window, to the wall," and, "Daylight come and we don't wanna go home," aren't going to win him any Grammy's, but it's a standard club track. 'It Girl' is a disappointing follow up, yet it has already charted in both the US and Australia. It sees a complete change of direction, with Derulo trying a ballad along the lines of last years, 'What If'. I am sure his fan base are going to completely eat it up, "You can be my it girl, you're my biggest hit girl." Lets hope he doesn't mean that in a Chris Brown sense.
'Breathing' is a track I had heard a lot about before the albums release, being produced by DJ Frank E - responsible for big tracks lately such as; 'Airplanes', 'Tonight (I'm Lovin You) and 'Yeah x3'. With all that hype behind it, I fully expect it to be the third single, but this reputation is a lot of pressure to put on a song. And it doesn't live up to any of these songs. Again the lyrics are so pathetically predictable it will have you cringing, "I only miss you when I'm breathing, this ain't no ordinary feeling." This could be big in the clubs, and therefore another UK number one, but it really is just dance/R&B for the younger generation.
JR Rotem produced all of Derulo's debut album, but here he has produced just a few. Rotem is responsible for a long list of hits, including 'Beautiful Girls', 'SOS', 'Everybody in Love' and 'Better in Time'. Here is his first production on the sophomore album - 'Be Careful'. It has a lot of the characteristics of songs from the 2010 album, and in my opinion would have made a much better single than 'It Girl'.
'Make It Up' is not good. Lyrically and with its production it has been aimed at the younger audience, like most of the album, yet the track is actually about making things up as you go along... in the bed, "Lay me down, undress me." I don't think this is appropriate for a lot of his fan base.
'Fight For You' is produced by RedOne, I would say this is a big coup for Derulo considering RedOne is responsible for Lady Gaga's biggest hits, but since then RedOne seems to have produced for everyone (including JLS) and hasn't always came out with the best results. In this case, together they have created something that sounds as though it should be on the Lion King soundtrack. "Just like the rain down in Africa, it's gonna take some time but I know you're worth fighting for."
You can be forgiven for thinking you've accidently gone back a few tracks when 'Pick Up the Pieces' starts, because it does sound very similar to everything else. Derulo's favourite subject is relationships. 'Givin Up' is a positive spin on a relationship, as he's given up searching for the girl... because he's found her. "It turns me on when I wake up, you're wearing my shirt no make-up."
'Bleed Out' is a darker, more adult sounding, track. In turn its less commercial, and more suited to the end of the album where its been placed. 'That's My Shhh' continues along this road, this is likely influenced by producer, The Dream, who is famed for is more adult rap/R&B. The song sounds as though it could belong to Trey Songz, and if you don't know who he is, it probably sums up how you'd feel about it.
Jason's still in love with his 'X'... by that I take it he means ex-girlfriend. It's a remix away of being commercially successful. 'Dumb' closes the standard edition of the album, produced by his best friend JR. And it's a sad note to end it on. "I'm so dumb for thinking you could love me." I expect if Derulo does launch an arena tour this could be quite an emotional part of the show if played correctly.
"Let me love you til I overdose," is just very average, like a lot of the actual album. Again I have to draw comments on who Derulo's fanbase actually is, because considering it mainly consists of young females, I don't think the word overdose is that appropriate. May be I'm getting a bit old before my time with these comments. A lot of his younger fans will probably be more attracted to the flashing lights, slick dancing moves and toned abs to concentrate on what he's singing about. 'Give it to Me' must be played at maximum volume, apparently, it's all very auto-tuned but it's a solid track and would probably deserve a place on the standard edition.
Future History lacks what made the 22 year old initially popular in his home country, and instead continues on with the sound that made his name on our shores, with more songs along the same vein as 'In My Head' and 'Ridin Solo'.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Donâ??t Wanna Go Home
2 It Girl
4 Be Careful
5 Make It Up As We Go
6 Fight For You
7 Pick Up The Pieces
8 Givinâ?? Up
9 Bleed Out
10 Thatâ??s My Shhh