Jamaican dancehall superstar Sean Paul is back with a new album, following the polished and American Idol-friendly Tomahawk Technique, released in 2012.
Full Frequency opens with the Damian Marley combination Riot, one of the best tracks from last year and one hell of a reggae/dancehall banger. It’s hard, raw and full of vital energy, quite opposite to anything that was offered on Tomahawk Technique.
And so it continues for a number of tracks. The tempo is often high and the amount of glossy and fluffy club bangers can be handled, even though they are too many for my taste. Sean Paul is not Flo Rida or Pitbull. He’s a dancehall artist, and dancehall should be his focus and that’s where he’s at his best. It doesn’t matter if it’s aggressive or smooth, just as long as it is dancehall.
Want Them All is an aggressive combination with Konshens, while Wickedest Style, now with Iggy Azalea on the microphone, is gentle and laid-back. Both excellent, but on their own terms.
With Tomahawk Technique Sean Paul strayed and missed the mark, but on Full Frequency he seems to be on the right track again, even though he needs to step it up even more on the next album.
Dancehall sensation Sean Paul is by far the most successful reggae artist in the 21st century with smash hits such as We Be Burnin, Gimme the Light, Temperature and Get Busy.
His initial success came with his second album Dutty Rock in 2002, which was followed-up in 2005 with the more hard-edged album The Trinity, an album that embraced his dancehall roots. His fourth set – Imperial Blaze – was put out in 2009, but wasn’t the same commercial triumph as its two predecessors, even though it was a consistent effort with Jamaican producer Stephen “Di Genius” McGregor handling most of the production.
Tomahawk Technique is Sean Paul’s latest set, an album where he takes a new direction directly aimed at the charts.
The three first singles of the album – Got to Luv U, She Doesn’t Mind and Hold On – are produced in collaboration with hit makers Stargate, Shellback, Benny Blanco and Ryan Tedder. These boys CV’s are jam-packed with chart toppers from the likes of Pink, Katy Perry and Jennifer Lopez. And this is the sound that Sean Paul has embraced throughout the album – electronica-influenced modern R&B and hip-hop with bright pop melodies.
Sean Paul sings about having a good time, whining waists and boyish love – “cause she only love me when I close my eyes, that’s why I call her dream girl, dream girl, she’s the only one that gives me butterflies, I see her in my eye, dream girl, dream girl”.
Tomahawk Technique boasts several teenage floor fillers and will surely attract a new crowd, all the while losing his long-time dancehall fans.