It’s Nicki Minaj Day! This first song may have a been a bit much for us to uh…
Maxwell Cavaseno: *calls my own phone’s voicemail* JASON DERULO IS DOING A FAUX-DANCEHALL “SWIMMING POOL”-QUOTING POP SONG ABOUT SWALLOWING, IT BANGS, AND NICKI MINAJ IS THE WORST PART OF IT. YOU WILL HEAR THIS MESSAGE MOMENTS LATER, AFTER HAVING DIGESTED THE SONG FOR A FEW MINUTES, AND YOU STILL WON’T BELIEVE IT. PARTIALLY BECAUSE ITS A MESSY, OVERCOOKED VERSION OF “NANA” BY TREY SONGZ BUT HE TRIED IT, HE REALLY DID. ALSO REMEMBER TO DO THE DISHES BEFORE YOU LEAVE FOR WORK.
Katie Gill: Man, remember when a Jason Derulo song didn’t AUTOMATICALLY mean it would be a repellent piece of shit with terrible lyrics and an awful bridge? Even Nicki Minaj realizes how awful this is, as shown by her sleepwalking through her rap.
Joshua Copperman: That has to be the lamest line reading of “freaky freaky gyal” I’ve ever heard. That has to be the worst organ preset I’ve ever heard. That’s the wrong era of Drake people to steal from! Yet, this is exactly what a Jason Derulo song has been since “Talk Dirty” became a massive hit – a collection of weird sounds that are stacked on top of each other to no end, with occasional guests from other people that only add to the silliness. Here, Ty Dolla $ign at least acts like he knows what the lyrics mean, and Nicki is just doing her thing. It’s not very interesting, apart from the things I mentioned at the beginning. That said, Derulo’s songs, with their increasingly bizarre combinations, always seem to grow on me, which is not a process I enjoy, but it’s often inevitable. So I’m rating this positively.
Alfred Soto: Flattened by fat bass and rinky-dink organ, Jason Derulo loses his savoir faire just as the market dictates that he get a hit and fast.
David Sheffieck: This is maybe the best balance Derulo’s struck yet between big-but-cheap and best-modern-attempts-at-MJ singles: he continues to churn out hooks so fast his quality control is absolute garbage, but when he hits (“Want to Want Me”, “If It Ain’t Love”), it makes you want to forget when he whiffs (“Get Ugly”, “Talk Dirty”, maybe he just needs to avoid two-word titles from now on?) The ice cream truck sample that kicks off the song would be too on the nose coming from anyone else; with Derulo, it’s just about the cost of admission. On the other hand, Ty Dolla $ign doesn’t seem to know what he’s here for except setting Nicki up, and Nicki delivers a verse that’s a Nicki verse in a post-Remy world: enough for someone out there to claim “shots fired”, solid overall, and at least she throws in a laugh at the end. In the latter two ways, it’s “Swalla” in miniature; thank god Derulo’s back to saying his name somewhere on the track, at least.
Leonel Manzanares: However tiresome it may be to hear yet another American Rap&R&B act riding the tropical wave, “Swalla” has two solid points in its favor: First, the proceedings are led by two master melodists at the top of their game — Derulo’s falsetto-driven pre-chorus is particularly fantastic — and second, the beat itself (closer to soca or Haitian zouk than Dancehall) is both brisk and bouncy, and allows for some sweet melodic runs. Even Nicki’s verse is on point, spacious and fun. And man, the line «Pussy game still cold,we don’t get minks for that // When I’m poppin’ them bananas, we don’t link chimps for that» is pure gold.
Thomas Inskeep: It’s got a melody like one played by an ice cream truck, and Derulo’s insistence that the ladies “swalla” is played off as it’s meant to refer to booze up in the club — but c’mon. There’s nothing original nor interesting here, and the vulgarity is cheap and dull. This tastes like a mouthful of sour milk, and I ain’t swallowing it.