Jason Derulo wants you to say his name | Bleader

Jason Derulo wants you to say his name


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At any given moment there will be a song in heavy rotation that will capture all that is good and right about the current musical zeitgeist. Right now there are a number of qualified candidates for the position, although I personally think Daft Punk's "Get Lucky" (which, yes, I'm aware I mention in this column almost weekly) and "New Slaves" from Kanye's Yeezus (which recently appeared at number 56 on the Hot 100 despite the fact that it hasn't been promoted as an official single) are the strongest ones, since they capture the collapsing of genres and time periods that is one of the most exciting things about pop music right now.

And at any given moment there will also be one that sums up everything tacky and horrible about its moment in pop cultural time. Right now that song is Jason Derulo's "The Other Side," which after ten weeks is hovering at the number 25 position.

Derulo's one of those performers who's a huge pop star to a very specific kind of audience—he's had featured spots on American Idol, and he's a two-time Teen Choice Award winner, if that gives you any context. If you aren't an Idol viewer or a teen, it's likely that you know him best from the supercut of Jason Derulo singing his own name that made the rounds on the Internet recently.

I feel like Jason Derulo is probably fine with people knowing who he is through a not entirely unmalicious Internet meme, as long as they know he exists and that his name is Jason Derulo. His most defining trait is an unstoppable, unquenchable, single-minded lust for fame, and I doubt he'd mind getting it through a humiliating public episode of incontinence caught on tape if that's what it came down to.

Fame desperation is, of course, one of the defining qualities of pop culture's current moment, and I'm sure Derulo's picture is on the inspiration boards of all kinds of people who won't let their lack of talent get in the way of their quest for recognition. Also very much of the moment are clean-toned guitars plugged straight into the board, throbbing quasi-trance synths, really corny battle dancing, and videos that follow a couple's relationship from its giddy beginning through its inevitable end, with little microadventures like pillow fights, car rides, and drinking liquor along the way, a la the "We Found Love" video.

These aren't the qualities most of us will want our time to be remembered by, and it's not likely that "Other Side" is going to have much of a legacy. But there's something about how purely it embodies bad taste in 2013 that I almost have to respect.

Miles Raymer writes about what's on the charts on Tuesday.


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