Jordin Sparks released a mixtape called #ByeFelicia today and it features a song—or maybe a few—about her ex Jason Derulo. Do you care? Does Felicia care?
When I think of Jordin Sparks, I think of sweeping ballads and Santa's "Nice" list, which is to say she's always been a PG artist. I wouldn't say boring, but her music has never been compelling enough to convert me into a fan, especially in comparison to my love for American Idol's other prominent winners Fantasia (and her pulpit R&B) and Kelly Clarkson. Both seemed to pinpoint their sound more definitively post-Idol.
Even on this mixtape—some of which she previewed in October—Sparks comes across mostly rehearsed, especially in the Q&As that are spliced in between tracks. While she's one of the few contestants who's been relevant after the show (notably, she starred in Sparkle, which was terrible), she's yet to find a comfortable zone musically. That might explain why it's been five years since her last album, Battlefield.
The #ByeFelicia highlights for me are "Left, Right" and the smooth two-minute track "They Don't Give," which is an us-against-the-world record: "Baby, baby, they say we ain't gon' make it/ But I know they don't give enough about us." True, there are roughly .5 % of people who care about her breakup with Derulo. She's milking it nonetheless.
The most blatant example is her remix of Drake's "How Bout Now," where she mentions that time Jason Derulo broke his neck: "Remember when you broke your neck and I had to wash your back for ya?/ You probably don't remember half the shit I did for ya/ You didn't really fuck with me way back then, but how 'bout now? / 'Cause I'm up right now and you suck right now."
The DJ Mustard radio formula is obvious on "It Ain't You" and "Double Tap," which is basically a Tinashe song, about a dude lurking on Instagram. Jordin sings: "If ya like what ya see then ya gotta let me know that you won't double tap that hoe." I give it a "not bad" rating, but I'm less interested in the trends and more in what makes Jordin Jordin. I might also replay "11:11" (produced by Salaam Remi) where she sounds the most genuine. Okay, so I'm slightly more interested than I was before.
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