Cash Money Records
Urban Contemporary, 2009
Jay Sean has more in common with Akon than Usher, in case you are wondering. Unlike Usher, Jay Sean is not unnaturally obsessed with trying to compensate for a tiny penis by singing incessantly about how he scores with the ladies. True, Jay Sean’s voice is a little on the thin side, and, like Akon, his songs tend to have a truly annoying hook involving repetition of a word or a phrase until you either dance along or feel like blowing your brain out.
However, he is a better vocalist than Akon – he can actually carry a tune, like the gentle Candle Light Remix of Down demonstrates. Unlike the upbeat version of the same track where he goes “Down! Down! Down!” like a demented wretch, in this acoustic version, he croons and makes love with his voice instead. Still, the original version of Down is fabulous in its own right. It’s ridiculously catchy and it also boasts a most amusing rap refrain by Lil’ Wayne that describes his feelings for his personal “Miss America from overseas” as being “down like the economy”.
War is a beautiful ballad where he reluctantly but definitely gets ready to “fight for” and “die for” the woman whose affections he is competing with another man for. The imagery in this story is pretty vivid, with lines like “And I would lie here in the trenches with your picture next to me”. He also collaborates vocally with Jared Cotter, his co-writer in Down, in the smooth Stuck in the Middle. I have to give it to this fellow – he actually comes off as earnest and sincere in his love songs, unlike a certain Mr Usher who is all about telling everyone that ladies can’t get enough of his puny pee-pee. True, there is nothing about these songs that haven’t been done before by fellow crooners and balladeers in the past, but they do make some good ear candy.
From the catchy Down to the dramatic lament that is Lights Off, All or Nothing contains a selection of most listenable and pleasant songs. The uptempo Akon-style songs can be polarizing – you’d either love or hate them, and in this case I love them, fortunately – but the slower and more earnest ballads may just soothe over any wounded feelings caused by those uptempo songs.