Robin Thicke and friends continue to dominate the top of the charts, so I am dipping back into the history of the Billboard Hot 100 for another entry into Hit Parade Classic. Once again, I am heading backwards through time until I find a song I haven't heard of at all. This time out, I head to the week of November 14, 2009 for a song called "Whatcha Say" by a person called "Jason Derulo." It was only number one for a week, and then it, and Derulo, disappeared. Seriously, I have never heard of this guy. It is important to note, perhaps the most important thing to note, that there is an umlaut in his last name, over the "u." I can't reproduce it through my typing, but I suppose I could just call him Deruelo. I think I will. I'm the boss around here. It's time for me to find out what "Whatcha Say" is all about.
The first few seconds are sort of jarring, but then it just turns right into pretty straightforward R&B. The vocals are heavily produced, robotic and autotuned and stuff. It was 2009, after all. It's topic is not all that original. Deruelo is some sort of philanderer, and he's trying to get his lady back. He's a fairly big douche about it though. He's all like "We belong together forever," and he says that when he's famous things will be great for the both of them, which is to say when he's a star they will be living large, which is a dumb sentiment. Look, a song about a cheating dude begging to get his woman back isn't likely to resonate with me. It's exacerbated by the fact that Deruelo doesn't really do a good job of selling himself. There's no emotional heft to it. He just basically says, "Hey, my bad. We cool?" There is no closure in the song at least.
The sort of chorus I dislike. It doesn't fit sonically with the rest of the song, and it involved the lyric "and when the roof caved in," which I'm not terribly fond of. I also don't really like the hook sung by some woman, which basically is "whatcha say" and some other words that are fuzzed out by robot voices. The vocals in general did not enthuse me. The production left them in a middle ground between robot and human, and it doesn't work. Especially for a song that may have benefited from some humanity and emotion.
The music itself has its ups and downs. There was some horns laid deep in the music bed which I liked, and a couple of times there was a beat one might consider dancing to. Other times, it is just generic stuff. It is neither good nor bad. It just is.
"Whatcha Say" is a rather bland outing. I don't know why Deruelo's faux-attempt at redemption found enough attention to be the top song for a week, but I do understand why it only lasted for a week. Conceptually it is problematic, only mildly but just a tinge, and aurally it is mediocre and a product of the lesser musical proclivities of the time. Perhaps history had done me a favor by keeping this song off my radar. And this is how I repay it. Time makes fools of us all.