Sean Kingston We thought the Summer Single of 2007 was "Umbrella." We were wrong. That honor now goes to 17-year-old Sean Kingston's "Beautiful Girls" — you know,… Sean Kingston We thought the Summer Single of 2007 was "Umbrella." We were wrong. That honor now goes to 17-year-old Sean Kingston's "Beautiful Girls" — you know,… 2007-07-31 Sean Kingston Hip-Hop/Rap R&B Reggae/Ska
Music Review

Sean Kingston (2007)

'BEAUTIFUL' GUY Jamaican teen Sean Kingston gives Ben E. King and Led Zeppelin reggae makeovers
Image credit: Carmen Portelli / Retna
'BEAUTIFUL' GUY Jamaican teen Sean Kingston gives Ben E. King and Led Zeppelin reggae makeovers
EW's GRADE
B

Details Release Date: Jul 31, 2007; Lead Performance: Sean Kingston; Genres: Hip-Hop/Rap, R&B, Reggae/Ska

We thought the Summer Single of 2007 was ''Umbrella.'' We were wrong. That honor now goes to 17-year-old Sean Kingston's ''Beautiful Girls'' — you know, the one with the Jamaican patois that goes ''You'll have me suicidal'' (or ''in denial,'' in the nervous-Nellie alternate radio edit). It's an irritatingly irresistible pop smash that uses a ''Stand by Me'' sample and electronic vocal processing to make Kingston's West Indies dialect sound more sci-fi. If Jar Jar Binks ever borrowed C-3PO's voice box to bemoan his adolescent sexual frustration, it would sound...well, not nearly as endearing as this.

At its best, Kingston's debut CD, Sean Kingston, keeps turning familiar riffs into dancehall cotton candy. ''Me Love'' transforms the faux reggae of Led Zeppelin's ''D'Yer Mak'er'' into, you know, only slightly less-faux reggae. ''Got No Shorty'' updates the circa-1915 ''I Ain't Got Nobody'' for 21st-century urban outcasts. There — and in ''Dry Your Eyes,'' a tribute to his imprisoned real-life ''mommy'' — he's a baby-faced underdog you can't help but get behind. Unfortunately, a few unconvincingly tough hip-hop tracks (including his first teaser single, ''Colors 2007,'' which went nowhere) seem like vestiges of a plot to present Kingston as a pudgy thug, before ''Girls'' made him a star softie. He's hardly the first 17-year-old with an identity crisis. Happily, the public has voted: Gangsta, nay. Lovably thwarted teen gigolo, yay. B
DOWNLOAD THIS: Me Love

Originally posted Aug 10, 2007 Published in issue #948 Aug 17, 2007 Order article reprints
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