Release Date: Sep 18, 2012
Record label: Atlantic
Genre(s): Reggae, Dancehall, Reggae-Pop
It's a clash of powerful forces: the irrepressible charm of Sean Paul against the intolerable global pop sound. Who will win: the Jamaican star whose 2003 Dutty Rock album brought dancehall to the charts, or the squealing, amped-up trance that is ubiquitous in 2012, from Rihanna to LMFAO? The head says the latter: tracks as sugar-coated and high-pitched as Won't Stop and Dream Girl are capable of producing gastric fireworks. And that's without mentioning the secondary cliches, the choral "eh ohs", the plaintive choruses, and, naturally, the Auto-Tune.
During the 2011-2012 seasons, the wonderfully fickle dancehall fan base had revived Shaggy as their superstar of choice, leaving less room for the swaggering Sean Paul. Maybe that's why the slick Tomahawk Technique feels like a play for the world with its Black Eyed Peas and Flo Rida-styled club tracks, the best of which has to be the slow-stepping "Got 2 Luv U," where Paul and Alexis Jordan shout sweet nothings over a Nicki Minaj-sized Stargate production. "How Deep Is Your Love" isn't the Bee Gees cut but a fine midtempo bedroom song with Kelly Rowland sounding quite tropical ("deep as de ocean floor") but when things slow to ballad level, all the gloss becomes fluff.
You could say Jamaican loverman Sean Paul is dancehall’s very own Tom Jones – he doesn’t produce the real bangers anymore but still, you can’t dislike him too much because he seems like a pretty nice guy, he’s probably got some dynamite stories and his early tunes are fun to dance to when you’ve consumed enough alcohol to imminently require a trip to A&E (‘Gimme The Light’ was probably Sean’s ‘Delilah’). Sadly, his creative decline continues on his fifth studio album, ‘Tomahawk Technique’, which is – trance’n’b-meddling album lowlight ‘Touch The Sky’ aside – a lacklustre collection of what sounds like pallid versions of previous hits. Missile launch failed.John McDonnell .
It's hard not to root for a musician who's fundamental to your coming of age. In late 90s and early 00s Brampton, Sean Paul was it: the pretty-boy Jamaican dancehall star with local ties (remember Baby Blue Soundcrew's Money Jane?) who soundtracked car rides, school dances and all-ages club nights. By extension, when that distinctive monotone drone reached Beyoncé heights, it validated our uniquely diasporic experience and sound.