Showing posts with label jay sean. Show all posts
Showing posts with label jay sean. Show all posts

Saturday, August 3, 2013

album review: 'neon' by jay sean

For most of this week, I was seriously considering not doing this review.

And really, it's not like I'd be alone in this particular endeavour. To say this album has been overlooked is understating it. On this album's Wikipedia entry, there are precisely two reviews, and both of them barely scratch the surface of cursory and token. Pitchfork ignored this album entirely. Instead of reviewing this album, the AV Club opted to review the new Backstreet Boys album. And sure, I covered the Backstreet Boys album, but that's because I'm a fan and I cover pop music more than the majority of critics. Keep that in mind - the guy who bothered to review, 3OH!3, and Selena Gomez nearly made the choice to completely ignore this guy.

Now some of you might be asking why on earth so many critics are apathetic towards this new album. To explain that, you need to understand the events in the pop music scene of about four years ago - namely, Chris Brown's assault on Rihanna. While it provided ample fodder for the tabloids, the less-spoken-of fact was it also created a certain tumult in the industry. Suddenly the world had woken up to the fact that not only was Chris Brown's musical output painfully mediocre, but that he was also a generally awful human and thus wouldn't sell the same number of records (Jay Z's quiet sabotage to Brown's career notwithstanding). And when Chris Brown's album Graffiti flopped, record executives got desperate to replace the woman-beating Usher-wannabe that had been bankrolling their eleventh yacht.

So throughout 2009 and 2010, we got bombarded by a host of young R&B acts looking to take Chris Brown's place. Some, like Trey Songz and arguably Taio Cruz, managed to construct something of a personality and have a bit of staying power, while others (Iyaz and that talentless hack Jason Derulo) scraped by through having no talent or personality whatsoever, manufactured pop stars in everything but name. And it was somewhere in the middle of all of this that we get our pop star of today, a British-Indian R&B singer who called himself Jay Sean. 

Now to be completely honest, I've never had a problem with this guy. I can't exactly call him great, but he's never been offensive or unlistenable, and I can't say either of his two hits ('Down' and 'Do You Remember') were anything worth hating. However, that's also indicative of part of the problem. Jay Sean isn't bad, he's boring, the sort of studio-produced pop/R&B creation who is pleasant enough to hear but immediately forgotten afterwards. And sure, that might have worked well enough when trying to replace the greatest dearth of charisma in music, but since Chris Brown came back, what has Jay Sean done to make himself distinctive or interesting or worth talking about? And as most music critics will tell you, there's nothing worse than reviewing an act that doesn't have the slightest iota of personality.

But with that being said, I eventually decided that I should at least say something or give this guy a bit of a chance. I mean, somebody probably put money into this album, and I figured that solitary producer might be curious to hear what the critical press has to say as he looks up from the cocaine bucket. And like it or not, I'm one of the few critics who actually tends to give pop music more of a chance. So how did Jay Sean's new album Neon turn out?

Youtube Review after the jump