On The Download: Kelis’ ‘Acapella’ & Jason Derulo’s ‘In My Head’

There are two songs from two very different upcoming R&B artists that are burning up my iPod right now – one from a singer who has been in the headlines for all sorts of different reasons lately, and one from a young man who’s looking to make a big splash in the music industry this year.

Kelis, best known for her breakthrough 2003 ubiquitous track “Milkshake,” is staging a comeback that her fans have been waiting for. Kelis has been in the headlines more lately for the drama surrounding her divorce from rapper Nas (and their ongoing child support court battles), than for her music. But lest people forget, Kelis is quite a prolific and creative pop star.

But she has just released her latest track, “Acapella,” produced by French DJ/producer extraordinaire David Guetta, and this track is the Jam.com! Already No. 3 on Billboard’s Dance/Club Play chart, “Acapella” is the first single from Kelis’ upcoming album, “Flesh Tone,” due later this spring. Teaming up with Guetta could be just the magic touch that Kelis needs. Guetta worked magic in 2009 for artists ranging from the Black Eyed Peas to Kelly Rowland (he’s reportedly working on a full remix album for Rihanna right now), and he’s bringing Kelis towards the new dance and electronic sound, which launched Lady Gaga into the stratosphere.

Fans had doubts about whether or not Kelis would be able to stage a musical comeback. “You know us New Yorkers don’t ever keep anything to ourselves,” she joked recently on a blog posted to her fans on her official Web site. “I suppose people assumed after the baby and divorce and culinary school that it would be on to motherhood for me. And while that’s true, my answer was always the same: ‘Soon come guys.’”

While the original stands on its own, check out the Dave Aude remix of “Acapella,” as well! Kelis will be premiering live at the Winter Music Conference in Miami at the end of March. She’s known to take some serious fashion risks, so I can’t wait to see what she comes up with at the WMC!

Meanwhile, newcomer Jason Derulo thoroughly underwhelmed me with his debut single, “Whatcha Say,” mostly because the track was such a rip-off of Imogen Heap’s “Hide & Seek” – I didn’t think a first single should borrow so heavily from another artist’s work, albeit the track did do quite well for him.

However, Derulo’s second track, “In My Head,” has me doing a full 180. This track is original, fun, energetic and sure to be one of the first big radio hits of 2010. The more uptempo beat truly showcases Derulo’s talent, which places him in the same career trajectory of an Usher or Chris Brown.

Derulo’s eponymous first album finally arrives March 2, courtesy of Warner Bros. Records. When the label first was introducing this young man to journalists, he came around and asked for the genuine opinion and advice of several music journalists. This too impressed me, as it’s not something we music writers see too frequently. He seems to have a good head on his shoulders, and this could very well translate into him being a Grammy Best New Artist nominee come next December. Let’s hope the rest of his album is equally strong.

Just like Kelis’ track, “In My Head” gets the party started on its own. But for your iPod’s gym mix, the officially released Wideboys Club Mix takes it to the next level of dance-ability.

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