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The Rokstarr Collection

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Album Review

R&B star Taio Cruz may have become a ubiquitous presence in the U.K. charts over the past three years, having appeared on tracks by Tinchy Stryder and McFly, as well as nine of his own hits, but even so, the release of a best-of package just two albums into his career still feels remarkably premature. Exclusively compiled for the U.K. market, The Rokstarr Collection collates all of his singles, bar "No Other One," alongside several album tracks from his LPs Departure and Rokstarr, and three previously unreleased songs from the latter's International Edition ("Higher," "Dynamite," and the Ludacris version of "Break Your Heart"). There's no denying the impact his innovative fusion of electro beats, techno synths, and R&B hooks, which he first showcased on 2008 Top Five single, "Come On Girl," has made on the charts on both sides of the Atlantic. But despite scoring two number one singles, "Break Your Heart" and "Dynamite," he hasn't yet produced enough material or offered enough variation in his brief career to justify a 15-track greatest hits. Indeed, The Rokstarr Collection only highlights how unimaginative and samey his more recent output has become. While he burst onto the scene with the smooth soul balladry of the Ne-Yo-esque slow jams "Moving On" and "I Just Wanna Know," the success of his urban synth pop reinvention has seen him concentrate instead on a series of increasingly formulaic and derivative club-friendly tunes. Strip away the guest vocals from Kesha, Tinchy Stryder, and Ludacris, and "Dirty Picture," "Take Me Back," and "Break Your Heart" are pretty indistinguishable from one another, such is their similarly heavily Auto-Tuned and generic techno-pop production. When Cruz veers away from his signature sound, he's much more interesting. "I Can Be" is a motivational, string-soaked, midtempo which shows that underneath the layers of studio trickery, Cruz possesses a pretty impressive, soulful voice, while the chiming guitars of "Feel Again" and the pounding rhythms of "Falling in Love" recall the melodic epic rock of early Coldplay, a healthy indication that he'll be more than capable of adapting once his trademark sound is considered passé. If Cruz can add a bit more variety to his future work, he could well have enough material for a pretty stellar compilation in a few years time, but for the moment, The Rokstarr Collection falls far too short to be anything other than a mildly diverting career stop-gap. ~ Jon O'Brien, Rovi

Customer Reviews

To good

This album is beast must buy

Bit early

Bit early for a greatest hits, he's only been around like what 4 years and one songs on there twice! Scraping the bottom the barrel if you ask me. Love his music though.

Awsome!

most of my fav songs in here

Biography

Born: 23 April 1985 in London, England

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Taio Cruz is a British pop singer/songwriter whose second album, Rokstarr, catapulted him to international chart-topping success in 2010 with its smash hit singles "Break Your Heart" and "Dynamite." Born Jacob Taio Cruz on April 23, 1985, in London, England, to a Nigerian father and a Brazilian mother, he went to school in Rugby, Warwickshire, West Midlands. His songwriting career got off to a quick start when he was signed to a publishing deal at age 19 and...
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The Rokstarr Collection, Taio Cruz
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