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Imitation, flattery & beyond

Quite often there are musical acts that seem to be making obvious nods to artists to have come before them, or those that are currently making waves on the music scene. Whether intentional or not, the fact remains that there is really only so much true originality that’s going around, but that doesn’t detract from the merits of those acts that still manage to have something to offer and make their own mark!

Jason Derulo — Jason Derulo (Warner Music). Miami native Jason Derulo is a 20-year-old singer, songwriter, dancer and actor, and Watcha Say is the smash hit carrier single that made us sit up and notice this young artist. Given his credits and imaging, it also made a number of music watchers label him the new Chris Brown — or Chris Lite! The Sky’s the Limit, with its nifty reworking of Flashdance’s What a Feeling is another good reason to listen to Jason. On the downside, this R&B is at times predictable, and I still don’t understand why he has to announce his name on so many of the tracks. On the upside, there is a lot of earnest energy on this album, and songs like Love Hangover and Encore do survive repeated listening. Someone to watch; and if Chris is a real “goner,” Jason is made!

Tanya Markova — Tanya Markova (MCA Universal). My first listen to Picture Picture, Disney and Linda Blair, and I was falling off my seat, admiring the nerve of this band to come up with real radio-friendly music a la early E-Heads, and attach it to hilarious, subversive lyrics. Then you discover what the band looks like, in full regalia and makeup, plus the gay aliases the band members utilize, and I thought I had come across the illegitimate offspring of some tryst Alice Cooper, Kiss and Manson may have committed on some secret trip to the Philippines some 20 odd years ago. Flitting between heavy metal, distorted vocals, and the genuine pop gems I mentioned make TM a real band to watch. “Copycatting” has never been this original, or so much fun!

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