Some important Sean Kingston statistics for you: the Jamaican ‘reggae-fusion’ vocalist has sold over six million digital singles – his smash hit of 2007, Beautiful Girls, accounting for the lion’s share – and four-and-a-half million ringtones. Add into the equation a million copies of his self-titled debut album sold and you’ve got one pretty successful artist.
That Kingston is yet to turn 20 only acerbates that swelling knot in the stomach. Just think of him several years down the line, doggy-paddling his way across a vast pool of cash like Scrooge McDuck. Or, don’t – raging jealously isn’t a strong look.
Tomorrow is the slick successor to Kingston’s first long-player, just as buoyant of beat and sing-along-friendly of chorus. And unlike some of his genre peers, including Sean Paul and Beenie Man, this Kingston-born artist smoothes his tracks so that nothing sticks in the throat, layering a thick gloss atop them that, at times, can absolutely bedazzle the listener.
The array of producers on board – including recent U2 collaborator Fernando Garibay – craft playfully boisterous instrumentals for Kingston to lay his lyrics upon; the problem at this level, though, comes from our protagonist’s tender years and his bipolar attitude to the women he’s focusing his attention on. Assertions that Mysterious Girl Number One is the one for him, for all time (take Magical as an example) sit close to tracks about one night stands in the offing: My Girlfriend, despite its name, is less about a long-term deal, more a 20-minute fumble in the club loos.
As a teenager, Kingston’s every right to fantasise about late-night encounters with attractive types, and these tracks are harmless in their content when compared to the rather-more-provocative imagery of older artists in his field. But the meant-as-heartfelt material often feels insincere and out of place. That said, Island Queen – which mixes the two perspectives with delightfully shuffling reggae percussion – is a sweet number, and Ice Cream Girl’s depiction of innocent days before advancement to the adult world is a mistily nostalgic treat that not even Wyclef Jean’s involvement can sour.
Shoulda Let U Go’s heavy rock riffs, contributed by Good Charlotte, feel awkwardly tacked-on, but this aside Tomorrow delivers a decent level of compositional consistency. It’s not rocket-science stuff, but for fans of inoffensive, pop-soaked Caribbean vibes there’s not much to find fault with here. Kingston might want to plan an extension to his vault. --Mike Diver
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