Broward Native Jason DeRulo Plays the Y100 Jingle Ball
Hating R&B is more or less the default setting for the critically inclined nowadays. Seriously, name a straight-up R&B artist you hold in anything better than mild contempt. John Legend? Usher? Ever since leading light R. Kelly became entangled in any number of crazy debacles, it seems that contemporary R&B is the only musical genre (along with, perhaps, much of country) that's basically taboo in many circles.
Well, that's how I felt until a recent experience with "Whatcha Say," by 20-year-old R&B singer Jason DeRulo, a Broward native who attended Dillard High. The song, which samples "Hide and Seek" by British electronica/art rocker Imogen Heap, is ubiquitous on urban radio at the moment. Anyone who listens to Power 96 or Y100 — the latter at whose annual Jingle Ball event DeRulo performs this Saturday — won't need me to quote any part of it. But just in case, here's some of the song: "I was so wrong for so long/Only tryin' to please myself/Girl, I was caught up in her lust/When I don't really want no one else/So, no, I know I should've treated you better/But me and you were meant to last forever/So let me in, give me another chance/To really be your man."
I was driving to work one recent afternoon when I realized I'd been making this exact same argument to my wonderful girlfriend over the previous week. Without sharing too many details, I'll say this: Trying to convince my girlfriend that I did not, do not, and will not want to date another woman and that, in fact, I don't really want no one else was a pretty serious undertaking. Just as Jason DeRulo knows. Not knowing what to do when the roof caves in under the weight of a pile of lies? DeRulo knows.
Meanwhile, I'm hard-pressed to think of an indie-rock song that, in any way, speaks to my relationship situation. And, when I thought about it more, I realized most indie rock doesn't talk about shit anymore, relationship-wise. And if you believe popular music should mean something to the people who hear it, you're going to have to concede that, by comparison, guys like Jason DeRulo are doing a great job.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene with music features, additional online music listings and show picks. We'll also send special ticket offers and music promotions available only to our Music Newsletter subscribers.