Thursday, April 21st, 2016

Jason Derulo – If It Ain’t Love

Once again making me jealous about how good he looks in a purple suit..


Alfred Soto: The inevitability of Derulo going Sam Smith-in-Disclosure during that chorus matters less than listening to Derulowave pulling even the likes of K Michelle out to sea. The rhythmic hairpin turns work, as does the strategic deployment of his howitzer falsetto.

Edward Okulicz: Did Jason Derulo undergo some kind of reverse Faustian bargain? He’s gained a soul and lost everything else, not least the ability to have huge hits, and based on this the ability to sound anything other than in distress. Weirdly, it works well for this skittery half-banger, worthy of sitting alongside “Cheyenne” in his improving canon.

Cassy Gress: There’s a blast of ecstatic synths in each chorus right behind “if it ain’t love,” and it immediately drops out to be replaced by quiet donks.  There’s an obvious reason for that, but every damn time it hits I think, “where did the song go?!” He questions so many times through this song “what is it, what is it, why does it feel so good,” that I want to shake him and tell him to stop being so passive-aggressive and just tell her he’s in love, dammit!  

Iain Mew: An effective meeting between several different things — a sparing sprinkling of moments of Derulo intensity, some toned down Garrix lemon drops, and through it all a taste of “Groovejet” smoothness and sophistication. I’m not sure how much of the last one is an illusion produced by the near-identical chorus lyrics, but it works either way.

Brad Shoup: I’m not sure he’ll ever be able to communicate any feeling stronger than he does self-satisfaction, so becoming a racing stripe on a streamlined banger is a good move. It’s just not a fantastic banger. (Those synth stabs will eventually blind you.) There’s a detour into bubblegum trap on the bridge: not the choice that necessarily follows, but I’m glad he’s still entertaining too many ideas.

Thomas Inskeep: Remember Ne-Yo’s Eurodance makeover “Let Me Love You”? Same concept, worse execution here — and I didn’t even like “Let Me Love You.”

Will Adams: The push-pull dynamic is something I crave in dance music, when the synth stabs give way to low-end bass and lo-pass filters portend a sense of urgency. More and more, Jason Derulo proves himself to be incredibly capable of selling dance floor drama, adept at melding with the music to prod at the tension between casual club meet-up and meaningful connection.

Maxwell Cavaseno: Jason Derulo is occupying a weird position in the world. Over the last year, he is making some of the finest pop out there; he has a definite mastery of craft, singing well, and taking weird risks with songs. Funny thing is, nobody seems to give a damn. “If It Ain’t Love” has an EDM-level propulsion, a move into a proggy snap-rap inspired breakdown on his third verse, a tropical edge, and not at any point does he feel or sound out of place. Oddly, I cannot see this song working, because the sad problem is the blank slate personality he’s always worked with, not to mention his affable ability to subvert that into novelty jester-antics. At this point, if Derulo is honest, we flash back to the melodramatic nothing of “Whatcha Say” and when he’s cheeky we think he’s the buffoon of “Talk Dirty”/”Wiggle” etc. In a troubling turn, Derulo can prove that he’s one of the best workers in pop, but the people simply aren’t as eager to buy what he’s selling.

Reader average: [7.33] (3 votes)

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