The people of the Caribbean really do have my sympathies. Ever since Sean Paul brought dancehall into the mainstream charts over here they’ve had a steady stream of ‘tributes’, and especially in the past few years. Now they have a Jason Derulo song written especially for them. It’s a tropical-flavoured R&B song about swallowing cum. The Central Island peoples salute you Mr Derulo.
It’s so rare for a pop song to be this bad. You have to cherish it. It’s that rarefied kind of bad that is just mind-bogglingly tasteless. Derulo has always been someone I hate to love, and that seems unlikely to change. He’s fully aware he’s shit. You can see it on his face every time he appears in these eye-popping vids.
It’s like the director’s asked him to look smug and machismo but Derulo isn’t sure why or what he has to be proud of, so he just tries to smoulder in a clueless and glassy-eyed sort of way.
And that is sort of loveable.
Remember how Jason Derulo got his break with a song that sampled Imogen Heap? When will Imogen Heap record her song about mung? We can only wait.
As for the song itself, where to start? So much to unpack and so little willingness to actually confront every bad decision that led to this song. How can you do so much wrong in under 4 minutes? The First World War took four fucking years to achieve a comparable level of tragedy.
The music video begins with four cheerleaders lying face down in a puddle, and they’re in a line so they have their faces right by one another’s taint like The Human Centipede with the head of the line resting her head on Derulo’s balls. Then they start humping into the floor but don’t open their eyes (?!) which makes it somehow more uncomfortable to watch.
So you have Cronenburg levels of body horror and we aren’t even 30 seconds in.
Then JD delivers the pre-chorus, and boy does he deliver. That man can really sing can’t he. He can sing like a dolphin that’s been punched.
Jason Derulo may have always been a talentless moron but never has a performer tried and failed so spectacularly to just stay in tune. Derulo’s a real maverick to the whole idea of holding a note and a total wild-card when it comes to staying in key. But I was shocked by just how dreadful his delivery actually is.
I’m not sure what note he’s reaching for but in his fumbling he produces a series of discordant yelps that make The Bee Gees sound like N.W.A.
Trying to be a gangster has always been tough for Derulo and especially here where he sings “All the girls in here!” with all the masculine authority and earnest fuckability of Sporticus from Lazy Town.
Who’s that now? Oh, it’s Ty Dolla $ign, mumbling nonsense to himself like a pissed Uncle at a wedding. Girls shake their bums at him and he takes no notice. Then he raps about how nice their shoes are. Nothing to see here folks.
Just to reiterate this song is about giving head. ‘Swalla’ here being a corruption of the word ‘swallow’. Just to be sure I’ve complied an exhaustive list of every reference to oral sex which engendered me having to listen to the song 7 times:
- Opening line translation: “I can’t physically have oral sex with literally every girl to have ever existed.”
- The refrain invites “thirsty” girls to “take a sip” (of jizz).
- The girls are dancing in a puddle throughout the video which is supposed to represent all the sperm that they clearly didn’t swalla in time.
- Nicki Minaj features on the song.
- The dancers have lollipops which are excessively long and penis-like.
- The cover art shows shiny goo oozing out of a girl’s mouth.
Pound for pound this is one of the biggest pop disasters in recent memory, noteworthy for how serious and numerous its issues are. Though Nicki Minaj is great (as always) she is trapped in Derulo’s funhouse of sheer unremitting cringe. ‘Swalla’ is a growing experience akin to your first brush with gonorrhea. It makes you value mediocre pop. Where art thou, Mumford & Sons?