by: Taio Cruz

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”). The hooks are plentiful on Rokstarr and infectious as they come. while as a producer Cruz is the Xenomania package that radio and record labels have dreamed about. Sounds good, and the album does the whole way through, but lyrics are a sore point and when ballads appear to help round out the effort, Cruz’s Coldplay-big soundscapes just help emphasize how his words are trite. Still, when you let the clichés fade into the background this is a master class in what the mainstream wants for a soundtrack in 2010. Break off a single or two and leave the rest for aspiring producers to study. ~ David Jeffries

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