Start with a high tenor. Liberally blend that adolescent-sounding voice with Auto-Tuned pitch warbles. Add a well-known guest (in this case, Lil Wayne). Mingle sentimental lyrics with some that are more suggestive. Let simmer—for months if necessary—until track reaches No. 1.
British singer Jay Sean (Kamaljeet Singh Jhooti, who’s of Indian descent and has been big in Europe and Asia for some time now) follows that oft-cooked musical recipe to the letter. In fact, the resulting flavor is so predictable that a casual listener might easily mistake him for any of the current heavy hitters in the pop/R&B genre: Chris Brown, Ne-Yo or Usher.
Alternating between promises of fidelity and invitations to go to bed, Sean tells a discouraged girlfriend, “Baby, don’t worry/You are my only/You won’t be lonely/Even if the sky is falling down/You’ll be my only.” Then he sings, “Tonight is the night to let it go/Put on a show/I wanna see how you lose control/ … Just let it be/Come on and bring your body next to me/I’ll take you away/Turn this place into our private getaway.”
By the sensual standards of R&B today, such a low-key proposition hardly qualifies as steamy stuff. More like standard operating procedure: Are you feeling down? Well, let’s just locate the nearest bed. Problem solved.
As he does virtually every time he guests on someone else’s record, Lil Wayne adds to the messiness with lines that either refer to a girl shaking her backside on the dance floor or oral sex—or both: “Down like she’s ‘posed to be/She gets down low for me.”
Jay Sean’s first big U.S. hit demonstrates once again that while chivalry isn’t completely dead in contemporary R&B, it’s almost always employed as a means to a self-serving end. And the fact that the British singer recently had two songs in the Top 10 at the same time suggests that fans are eager to savor the romance-laced sensuality that Sean serves up.
After serving as an associate editor at NavPress’ Discipleship Journal and consulting editor for Current Thoughts and Trends, Adam now oversees the editing and publishing of Plugged In’s reviews as the site’s director. He and his wife, Jennifer, have three children. In their free time, the Holzes enjoy playing games, a variety of musical instruments, swimming and … watching movies.