Pop Perspective: Jason Derulo’s “If It Ain’t Love” Rated And Reviewed
At Idolator, the editors share a passion for high-quality pop. Occasionally, our tastes align. Other times, not so much! So, in the spirit of debate (and online drama), we’ve developed a recurring feature called Pop Perspective. Basically, all of the editors dissect a particularly noteworthy pop happening, and give it a rating out of 10.
That way you’re getting a full spectrum of views and we can all vent. (It’s cheaper than therapy!) The latest pop event to be dragged under the Idolator microscope is Jason Derulo’s “If It Ain’t Love,” which is the first taste of the hitmaker’s fifth LP. Is the steamy club-banger another smash like “Want To Want Me” or has he slightly missed the mark? Read our thoughts below.
Robbie Daw — 5/10
I just have a question: Is Jason Derulo’s “If It Ain’t Love” meant to be an homage to Groovejet and Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s 2000 worldwide hit “Groovejet (If This Ain’t Love)”? Because, sure, they swapped out “This” for “It” in the title, there are other similarities, including the “why does it feel so, why does it feel so good” refrain.
I digress. I feel like Jason falls into that Flo Rida-esque category of artist: There’s not a single person on the street who can tell you the title of one Jason Derulo album. In fact, you yourself may be familiar enough with about six different Jason Derulo songs to recognize them when played, but you probably couldn’t name the artist singing them even if prompted at gunpoint. And yet, the hits just keep rolling out of the Derulo factory.
Anyway, sure — this song is fine enough for Top 40 radio fodder. And it’ll probably become a big hit. But you won’t ever remember who sings it, mark my words!
Carl Williott — 7/10
I’m not exactly up to speed on the big-tent R&B scene, but from the outside Derulo has always seemed like a dependable utility fielder, never exactly carving out a distinct identity (hence “Jason Derulooo”) but usually coming through with an inescapable single or two every year.
So that’s why I’m sort of astounded that PC Music’s plastic bubble-popping pop has rubbed off on him here, which both speaks to the collective’s sneaky mainstream impact and to Derulo’s sneaky willingness to do anything in the service of a hit. Whether or not this is all the off-base theorizing of a pop&B dilettante, the song basically hits the nail on the head: not in love with it, but it feels pretty good.
Mike Wass — 7/10
How do you solve a problem like Jason Derulo? The guy has all the gifts to challenge Usher for the R&B/pop crown, but he still couldn’t be picked out of line-up. It’s a frustrating situation because his music is straight fire — as “If It Ain’t Love” proves. As much as I loved the ’80s-referencing, nu-Lionel Richie vibe of (extremely underrated) 2015 album Everything Is 4, I’m not mad at him for revisiting the urban/dance terrain of Future History.
In many ways, Jason’s latest picks up where “Don’t Wanna Go Home” left off — albeit without the corny sample. He croons sexily about bedroom antics over jittery, London club scene-inspired beats. Given the flood of R&B/pop dudes rushing to copy The Weeknd, it’s refreshing that the 26-year-old is taking it in a different directions. While “If It Ain’t Love” isn’t quite top shelf Derulo (“Talk Dirty,” “Want To Want Me” and “Whatcha Say”), I still can’t wait to hear it on the radio.
AVERAGE SCORE: 6.3/10