Friday, September 18th, 2009

Jason DeRulo – Whatcha Say

Wherrrrre are we…


Jordan Sargent: I like to think that after hearing Flo Rida’s “Right Round”, J.R. Rotem —- once R&B’s most blatant corpse-raping sampler —- decided that there could never be a more obvious and uncreative pillaging of an ’80s electro hit, and thus the throne had been permanently wrested from him and it was time that he looked forward to greener pastures for which to scorch. And by looking forward, he looked back to 2007, where Imogen Heap’s “Hide and Seek”, made (in)famous after being the central punchline in an SNL skit, was just waiting to be diced into a forehead-smacking bit of radio schlock. Where will J.R. turn when Dr. Luke samples “Dick in a Box”? We’ll find out in 2012, I guess.

Al Shipley: Producer J.R. Rotem has already scored #1 singles twice by allowing young urban crooners run riot over shameless samples of immortal Ben E. King and Soft Cell hooks. Jacking a song best known as TV background music is a little less ambitious by his standards, but the results are similarly easy to enjoy but hard to respect.

Michaelangelo Matos: This is the second time I’ve heard “Hide & Seek” in a new context this summer. The first was in an ethereal dubstep remix by Enigma (not that one) in which Heap’s voice, along with everything else, looms up in the horizon like mist. “Whatcha Say” is like that looming boxed in and with an annoying dork hollering in front of it. I prefer the remix.

Chris Boeckmann: This is a brilliant sample, but DeRulo (the man behind Cassie’s brilliant “My House”) has no clue how to use it properly. First, “Hide and Seek” is an insanely depressing, atmospheric track; the song that samples it should also be depressing and atmospheric (see: “Stan”). Second, I get the feeling he’s confused about the line “mmmWatcha say? That you only meant well? Well, of course you did.” It should serve as the bitter response from the girl he’s cheating on, so why does he shout “so tell me girl!” right before it and “watcha say!” on top of it? Third, and perhaps most important, he shouldn’t incorporate the greatest sad single of the 00s into the most generic autotune single of 2009. Show some class, man.

Alex Ostroff: Once I put aside my attachment to the original, this isn’t bad at all. DeRulo plays a vaguely contrite cheater declaring that you and he are meant to last forever, and promising to make it up to you with money and the fruits of his future stardom. I suspect we’re supposed to take him at his word, but Imogen’s sampled voice is cold and cynical, calling him on his bullshit, even when the arrangement leeches the original’s ache.

Frank Kogan: The Imogen Heap track this samples is a boring art lollipop, but used as a snippet here it’s delicious, perks me up whenever I hear it; and then I get let down when DeRulo’s uninspired singing enters, the AutoTune slicing and glinting him up to no avail. I don’t understand: I loved last summer, “Disturbia” and Welcome To The Dollhouse and all, but this summer the r&b-dance amalgam feels dead, the exuberant adventure of beats and harmony and AutoTune collapsing into mediocrity.

Martin Kavka: It may just be that I really deeply miss The OC and want oodles of success for Imogen Heap. But I do honestly believe that I like this because I can’t think of another R&B song that uses a sample to tell the singer he’s a lame-ass shit, and I can’t think of another R&B song in which the singer takes the point and realizes that he doesn’t have a leg to stand on. Bonus point for showing that AutoTune might deserve to live, pace Jay-Z.

Andrew Casillas: Just because we can easily recognize the sample doesn’t mean that you’re gonna automatically keep our interest. Jeez, at least say something clever.

Martin Skidmore: Light R&B, with a pretty dramatic delivery, except its emotion is mostly autotuned out. If you can ignore that, which I mostly can’t, it is performed with excellent timing, and the production shudders and shimmers nicely.

Hillary Brown: This does very little to the Imogen Heap song–it’s more like a minimal Diddy-style collage with a bit of singing over the top–but it’s a good loop, and the combination of populist autotune with the original, artier statement proves that the device can cross boundaries. Where’s my Bon Iver-T Pain collab?

Alfred Soto: No wonder he only cared about pleasing himself, what with Auto-Tune echoing his blank voice back at him. That’s before the roof caved in, the truth came out, and he didn’t know what to do, even when his duet partner has a severe case of the hiccups.

Chuck Eddy: “When the roof caved in and the tooth came out, I just didn’t know what to do.” Maybe visit the dentist? He’ll have you flossin’ jig on the cover of Fortune again in no time! (And oh yeah, calling a roofer might be a smart idea, as well.)

Renato Pagnani: Take away the deliciously icy transplanted vocals from Imogen Heap and all that’s left is a seriously underwritten sub-Chris Brown Yes-I-cheated-but-please-take-me-back plea. DeRulo wants us to forgive him for his indiscretions when his real crime is sheer stupidity.

3 Responses to “Jason DeRulo – Whatcha Say”

  1. […] By humanizingthevacuum This week’s singles: Jason DeRulo, Future of the Left, Robbie Williams, Michelle Branch, the return of Ghostface’s best […]

  2. You know, for Jordan’s ranting to me about how shameless the sample was before this went up, after hearing the song on the radio, I had to google what the sample was. I think I’ve heard “Hide and Seek” once, when a friend played it for me.

  3. im ur biggest fan and ur song here in South Africa iz making huge waves. i love you man an Chris Brown iz no way near u. i mean u r a dog, ur damn gud and hot.
    know dat everybody iz dowloading and enjoying ur song plz reply coz it wuld mean a lot 2 me.