We’ve had some big hits from Jay Sean over the last couple of years, but we haven’t had an album from the electro-urban artist since 2009. But, it seems the wait is over.
Jay Sean’s fourth album has finally hit the shelves – a good four years after the success of All or Nothing, his debut album in the US, featuring the memorable singles Down and Do you Remember.
The new album, entitled Neon, has been in the works since 2010, and was originally to be titled Freeze Time. Sean has been leaking singles throughout this period including some successful collaborations with urban heavyweights Pitbull – I’m All Yours, Nicki Minaj – 2012 (It Ain’t the End) and Lil Wayne – Hit the Lights.
However, Freeze Time was scrapped in 2011, rumoured to have some legal issues, and Sean began to work on a more RnB influenced album, Neon. This latest venture does not include any of the singles put out in the 2010-2012 period, which unfortunately means it is not so impressive.
Neon is a collection of love songs and there is a clear absence of supersized electro-urban dance numbers which Sean has proved himself able to pull off. There are some guest appearances and they definitely make for some of the best songs on the album, but this fourth album seems to all-together lack the star quality Sean has produced in the past.
The 32-year-old British urban artist is seen as one of the UK’s most successful musical exports. Sean (born Kamaljit Singh Jhooti) debuted in the UK’s Asian Underground scene as a member of the Rishi Rich Project in 2003. His big break in the US came when he signed with Cash Money Records, producing the single Down featuring Lil Wayne in 2009. Down sold over 4 million copies, becoming the best-selling single by a British male artist in the US since Elton John’s Candle in the Wind. It went on to sell 6 million copies worldwide and topped the Billboard Hot 100 making Sean the first UK urban act to do so. His follow up single Do You Remember featuring Sean Paul and Lil Jon sold over a million copies, placing both songs in the top 10 of the US Hot 100 simultaneously. This led him to take the crown of the most successful British/European male urban artist in US chart history.
Neon opens with the namesake track, which starts out like a dance number, slow building to the drop. But the drop never comes. Instead the chorus has a waltz back beat which slows the tempo right down, until we get back to the start of the build. It’s kind of like a roller coaster that never reaches the top, and therefore is in no way exciting. The same thing happens in Close to you later in the album.
The first collaboration is with Rick Ross and is titled Mars. This is the first track on the album that gives fans a taste of the sexy urban vibe Sean can capture, something like that of Lloyd or Trey Songz. I wanted more tracks like this on the album. Mars features a rhythmic beat and spine tingling falsetto, something like Usher’s Climax.
Miss Popular and Deep End have the same rhythmic surge, but somehow don’t reach the sexy RnB heights of Mars. The second collaboration on the album with Ace Hood All On Your Body quickens the pace of things and has loads of hip hop flavour paired with a smooth crooning chorus. This formula is repeated in the Busta Rhymes collaboration Break Of Dawn.
The rest of the tracks are love songs which lack the urban feel, and could easily be sung by one of the many boy bands out there. These tracks could also run into each other without too many people noticing. The exception is the last track, Sucka For You, featuring some funky reggae beats – but this is unfortunately not too memorable either.
Jay Sean seems to be able to produce the goods when it comes to singles, but can’t handle the depth and space of an album. It’s been four years, and frankly this album could have never come.
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