Future History

A mid-1950s Harry Belafonte hit. An early 1990s dance-club smash. A crunk anthem. A thumping Eurodisco beat, some Auto-Tune. These are just a few of the bits and pieces that Jason Derulo crams into "Don't Wanna Go Home," the single from his second LP of party-hearty robo R&B. Derulo doesn't travel light; on nearly every song he stuffs his suitcase until the seams split. "Fight for You" tricks out a power ballad with a refrain from Toto's "Africa"; "Breathing" tosses in tribal vocal chorales. But Derulo is endearingly into it – he attacks the songs – and he can sing. (Check the falsetto flutters in "Dumb.") He's just a bit too overeager – too determined to please all of the people all of the time.

Listen to "Don't Wanna Go Home":

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From The Archives Issue 1141: October 13, 2011