Review – Taio Cruz – TY.O
It has only been a year and a half since his last album (the very coolly-titled ‘Rokstarr’) dropped in the US, but dance maven Taio Cruz is back for more with his third disc ‘TY.O’ (the name of which is supposed to be his name of course, but that period is throwing me off).
Now, this review is actually coming VERY early – the album does not come out in the US until next April, but I thought I would get a jump on things and be a bit ahead of the game. The CD is already out in Germany after all – why wait? In fact, that is a question we should perhaps ask his label.
My theory is that they are waiting – hoping – that Taio does not become just one in a line of so many overseas acts that make it big in the United States only to quickly fall back into obscurity (Cruz is British, where he has charted another album and seven singles that the US never saw nor heard). Lead single “Hangover (ft. Flo Rida)” looked like it might be promising as it debuted fairly high, but it fell off the charts swiftly, and we haven’t heard from it since.
Sadly, ‘TY.O’ doesn’t have much else in the way of another smash single. ‘Rokstarr’ gave us “Break Your Heart (ft. Ludacris)”, “Dynamite”, “Dirty Picture (ft. Ke$ha)”, and “Higher (ft. Kylie Minogue and Travie McCoy)” – all of which were rather catchy and had their own slant to them. Taio seemed to be, if nothing else, a solid hitmaker.
As I mentioned, ‘TY.O’ falls a bit flat in terms of both singles options and diversity. While ‘Rokstarr’ was not exactly musically diverse, each one of his singles was something different – broken hearts, dancefloor anthems, and, of course, sexting – all made it on to the disc. His latest sees Taio play it safe (so to speak), with an album full of essentially nothing but tracks that proclaim his love of drinking, dancing, and the like. This is not something we haven’t seen before, nor is it unexpected. Artists like Cruz are often under enormous pressure once they find stardom to quickly turnaround and put out more hit music, and what is safer than another pop/dance jam?
The album is not a loss though – not if you know what to expect. Nine original songs (and one that he recorded for the movie ‘Rio’ soundtrack and a David Guetta/Ludacris collaboration called “Little Bad Girl”) full of synths, hard bass, and his signature hooks of “ohhh!” that are surprisingly not all just space fillers. While the album is nothing groundbreaking, you almost have to admire an artist that is willing to surely take ridicule and mediocre album reviews to shamelessly produce a collection of songs whose sole purpose is to encourage you to drink more and dance.
And you know what? They all just about make you do that.
Listen to: “Hangover (ft. Flo Rida)”, David Guetta - “Little Bad Girl (ft. Ludacris and Taio Cruz)”, and “Shotcaller”