Release Date: Jun 1, 2010
Record label: Mercury
Genre(s): Pop, R&B
Taio Cruz struck gold with his synth-driven banger ”Break Your Heart,” which earned the U.K. star a No. 1 Billboard single. Unfortunately, the only song of equal caliber on his Stateside debut is the Ke$ha-assisted sexting number ”Dirty Picture.” The rest of the tracks are forgettable and include a cut for throwing hands in the air (”Dynamite”) and one awkwardly placed effort to uplift (”I Can Be”).
Even if the commercial golden period being enjoyed by British urban music turns out to be fleeting, Londoner Taio Cruz should still be around in 10 years. It's not that his well-groomed electro-R&B is particularly special, but that he's got a thriving parallel career as songwriter/producer to the likes of Justin Timberlake and Usher. As an artist himself, he's proficient but generic, as typified by his performance on Break Your Heart.
One of those artists where the forward slashes keep coming -- singer/songwriter/producer/label owner/etc. -- Taio Cruz creates futuristic, vibrant, and supremely polished music that’s split so evenly between R&B and pop that you might well call it R&P. Make that R&P with some rap and dance music flavors along with A-list guest stars like Ludacris (the glittering single “Break Your Heart”) and Kesha (the naughty club workout “Dirty Picture”).
These are odd times we’re living in, where rappers think they’re profoundly interesting ([a]Kanye West[/a]); pop tarts think they’re ladies ([a]Girls Aloud[/a]) and overly sincere crooners think they’re rokstarrs (sic). Take [a]Taio Cruz[/a], a man more lost than [b]Daniel Merriweather[/b] in a sea of emotional confusion, using vocal effects more tinny than [b]Akon[/b] and possessing slightly more sex appeal than [b]JLS[/b] basted in turkey grease by [b]Louis Walsh[/b]. And although Cruz’s downfall comes when he acts the player ([b]‘Break Your Heart’[/b], [b]‘Dirty Picture’[/b]), it’s obvious his real talent comes when he exchanges vocal manipulation for balladeering as on [b]‘Falling In Love’[/b], and disregards romantic cynicism for a rather hopeful [b]‘The 11th Hour’[/b].
This collection sounds like tomorrow’s hits, today. Mike Diver 2009 With pop still enjoying a purple patch of anti-disposability, initiated to some extent by the rise to prominence of producers like Xenomania and Richard X, there’s never been a better opportunity for London’s Taio Cruz to make his mark. And with his track Break Your Heart doing the business on the singles chart – it debuted at number one – this second album is perfectly timed.