The Bottom Line
It's a slice of reggae-pop minimalism for summer 2007. Sean Kingston's debut single welds a simple lyric onto heavily sampled instrumental tracks from Ben E. King's classic "Stand By Me." Kingston's somewhat unpolished nasally vocals could wear thin quickly or "Beautiful Girls" may be just what you need for a singalong with the top down on the convertible on the way to the beach. I'm giving the teenager the benefit of the doubt and leaning to the latter category.
Listen to "Beautiful Girls"
- Breezy summer reggae fun
- Makes the word "suicidal" work in a pop song
- Kingston's vocals may wear thin quickly
- Kicks off with the unforgettable instrumental intro to Ben E. King's "Stand By Me" in the background
- Sean Kingston disses mean, beautiful girls in a reggae chatting style
- Bright, sunny, summer sound
Guide Review - Sean Kingston - Beautiful Girls
17-year-old Jamaican-born Sean Kingston has a strong music pedigree. His uncle is reggae artist Buju Banton, and his grandfather was a reggae producer. "Beautiful Girls" is reminiscent of Akon's helium-voiced reworking of Bobby Vinton's "Mr. Lonely" 2 years ago that landed him in the pop mainstream with the top 5 hit "Lonely." Instead of borrowing from Bobby Vinton, Sean Kingston takes the work of another early rock icon, Ben E. King, and sculpts the instrumental track for "Beautiful Girls" by borrowing heavily from "Stand By Me."
This is the first time in my recollection that the word "suicidal" has been put so obviously front and center in a mainstream pop song. It works here, and it doesn't seem nearly as startling as it might have if Rihanna had not equated cheating on a lover with murder on her hit "Unfaithful." Those "beautiful girls" can be rough on a guy's ego!
The melody of "Stand By Me" is indeed classic, and Sean Kingston has an appealing, fresh-faced approach. You just might find yourself singing "su-i-cidal" all summer long.