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20 Watts Reviews Sean Kingston’s Tomorrow by JohnCassillo

Sean Kingston's latest struggles to define itself as more than a playlist

Sean Kingston's latest struggles to define itself as more than a playlist

PREVIEW: DOWNLOAD Sean Kingston’s “Fire Burning” MP3
WE GIVE IT: 12/20 Watts

Over the last two years, Epic artist Sean Kingston has gone from an unsigned MySpace sensation to a Billboard Hot 100 mainstay. His music has always represented a fusion of reggae influence with mainstream production techniques. After a successful debut with a number of top ten charting singles, Kingston looks to strike again with his sophomore effort, Tomorrow.

If you own a radio or a television, you have most likely heard Tomorrow’s lead single, “Fire Burning.” It has blown up in the last few months, being overplayed by top 40 stations and used in various television spots. Produced by RedOne (see Lady Gaga), this track employs all the elements of a radio hit in 2009: a melodic, chant-like chorus, striking synthesizer lines, and dance drums. It is a fun, likable track that functions as an excellent lead for an album.

But herein lies the album’s problem: all of the other songs take the exact same approach.  It’s a group of loosely strung-together radio-made singles. “My Girlfriend” practically sounds like a replica of “Fire Burning,” while “Face Drop” simply follows the trend of synth-strings and the punchy bounce of the southern drum kits used in practically every mainstream hip-hop song in the past year. These second- and third-string singles lack originality, drowning Tomorrow in formula.

The album continues with randomly thrown-in reggae grooves (“Island Queen” and the generic “Magical”), next to somber breakup songs (the yawn-inducing “Why U Wanna Go” and “War”) and slower tempo club tracks (“Ice Cream Girl” and “Twist Ya Around”). The album’s only real strong point is its title track, a heartfelt song that shows the great extent of Kingston’s talent as a vocal artist.

But overall, Tomorrow has no coherency whatsoever and will leave listeners wondering whether they are listening to an album or a radio playlist. It fails to capitalize on Kingston’s unique voice and range, instead sounding like a factory-produced disc that could have been compiled any other artist. Sure Tomorrow has some good songs for your iPod, but is it worth your purchase as an album with replay value? Try again.

— Gregory Fitton

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