Jay Sean's 'Neon': What the Critics Are Saying
In the last four years, U.K.-born R&B singer Jay Sean has tried to make an honest album, as opposed to, “making music for the radio.”
Sean would know -- he's best known for his 2009 smash single “Down,” featuring Lil Wayne, which was on heavy rotation for the better part of two years. But in his effort to steer clear of the pop masses, he doesn’t do much more to impress the critics.
Neon, out July 30, is Sean’s fourth studio album, and certainly not his first to receive mixed reviews. Here’s what the critics are saying:
“It’s a smooth, proficient pop product that steers clear of conflict,” Killian Fox of The Guardian writes, giving the album an unimpressive two out of five stars. “It’s as safe and inoffensive as its namesake gas.”
In a review spent searching for answers to Neon, Idolator’s Christina Lee is ultimately left with more questions. She ends her piece stating that Sean “is stuck between two worlds. Some of his new songs hew true to his former self, but Neon continues to suggest how his personality has faded since hanging out with Pitbull and [his Cash Money] label boss [Bryan] 'Birdman' [Williams].” She ultimately rates the album 2.5 out of five.
With a slightly better three out of five, All Music’s Fred Thomas says Neon leaves much to be desired. Thomas notes that “highlights are in short supply, and much of it feels like Sean and his production crew are scrounging around for a hit, with everything from saccharine pop to generic club bangers and even a reggae-tinged number. ” Ultimately, Thomas seems to agree with other reviewer when he states that “Sean fails to deliver anything quite as charismatic as any of his greatest hits on Neon, leaving the album feeling largely flat.”
In a positive review, Kathy Iandoli of Vibe writes that Neon “feel more comfortable for Jay Sean. He ultimately sticks to a specific formula and rarely strays.” She adds that Neon is Sean’s “most cohesive work,” where “every song is arguably a hit without seeming forced.”