Album art for Cameron Dallas’ Dear Scarlett.
By Rob Mohr and MK Saye
MK: If you were waiting for an album written by a Viner or YouTuber, here it is in all of its mediocre glory. The artist behind this album, Cameron Dallas, first became famous through Vine and YouTube— and after listening to this album, I’m convinced music is not something for everyone to try. Not only is it lacking in musicality, Dear Scarlett sounds like it was written for a girl clearly settling for less than she deserves.
This album follows a letter format in that it begins with songs such as “Secrets” and “Erase the Pain” in which Dallas says that he can do better. “Secrets” is the first song of the album and has a catchy tune thanks to the electronic filter on the voice that introduces the song. “Erase the Pain” again is very catchy, and seems at first like a nice sentiment. However, it becomes very clear in these first two songs that the only true goal of this album is to get a girl in bed.
“Nobody Knows” is the next notable song in this album only because it sounds like a Walmart version of the much more musical “Carolina” by Harry Styles. Much of this song is repetitive and ends with Dallas just shouting vowels.
In “Dangerous,” Dallas uses an acoustic guitar which was a welcomed change to an otherwise uncreative list of songs. However, the lyrics suggest that the girl who is the subject of the song is “dangerous” simply because she’s too attractive. The irony that the language and ideas of his entire album are dangerous is apparently lost on Dallas.
The music in “Dear Scarlett” is understated, but not in an attractive way. Dallas’s vocals sound whiny, and the same phrase dominates most of the song.
“Would You” is the last song and is probably the most tolerable of the album. This song sounds like the band Why Don’t We which explains why it’s better than most of this album.
I would not recommend this album mainly because I don’t think it’s good music; the only song worth listening to for even a few seconds is “Would You.” Additionally, this album shows Dallas’s blatant disrespect for women and that alone is enough reason for me to dismiss it.
Rob: Dear Scarlett is the debut album from former Vine superstar Cameron Dallas. However, this isn’t the 26-year-old’s first musical foray, in January of this year he starred in Tina Fey’s Broadway adaptation of Mean Girls. His performance was not well recieved, as someone described it on Reddit: ”He didn’t hit a /single/ note in Stupid With Love (Reprise) and you could actually hear the audience’s discomfort.” Another user on Twitter summed it up well: “if cameron dallas got to be on broadway there’s hope for literally everyone[.]”
Therefore, it’s safe to say that Dallas isn’t the next Elvis or Caruso, but to be fair, the singing on Dear Scarlett isn’t bad. It’s not good either, it’s completely forgettable and uninspired. The production is overdone, both in terms of character (it feels flat) and originality (the whole album sounds the same). Essentially, Dear Scarlett is 36 minutes of a washed up internet personality doing his best impression of The Weekend and Justin Bieber without coming close to the quality of either of them. The songs all have the same themes of partying and failed relationships, which I’m not here to deride as unworthy topics for music, but Dallas does nothing to push these themes beyond the status of trope.
The burning question I keep returning to when thinking about this EP is “Who is it for?” Music certainly doesn’t have to have a market in mind or have a justification for existing. It is art after all, but the conscious decision to release and promote this music, especially without label support, shows Dallas thinks he has an audience for his work. He isn’t the first internet personality to make the jump to music, artists like Joji and Childish Gambino are both very successful in their crossover, and even NBA player Damian Lillard has found acclaim for his rap music, but Dallas does not have the ability, musically or creatively, to make it work. I think it’s best that Dallas, like the Harlem Shake and other “Vine-era” cultural relics, stays in 2013.