Speaking to Pete Lewis of the Blues & Soul, Cruz explained the musical background behind the album: "This album shows quite a bit of scope. In that, while it's still got underlining hip hop, dance and R&B-type tones to it, it also has like rocky and indie rock elements. And lyrically, because essentially I come from a ballad place of listening to people like Boyz II Men and Babyface, many of the songs do tend to be about relationships in one way or another. But the difference this time is that, as well as the full-on love songs, I am having a little bit more FUN with it all!"
The album has received generally mixed to positive reviews from critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 61, based on 11 reviews, which indicates "generally favorable reviews".Mike Driver from BBC gave an extremely favorable review, saying that: "Rokstarr bounces to a beat that feels fresh and vibrant". Ken Capobianco from The Boston Globe says that Rokstarr is "an agreeable, singles-going-steady kind of collection that should make for endless radio fodder."The New York Times review states that "There are vapid lyrics to navigate ("Hit the floor 'cause that's my plans plans plans plans/I'm wearing all my favorite brands brands brands brands," on "Dynamite"), but they don't disrupt the mood, which is emphatic and rarely sensual: turns out Mr. Cruz has no off switch."Entertainment Weekly opined that "The only song of equal caliber to "Break Your Heart" on his Stateside debut is the Ke$ha-assisted sexting number "Dirty Picture". The rest of the tracks are forgettable and include a cut for throwing hands in the air ("Dynamite") and one awkwardly placed effort to uplift ("I Can Be")."
The Rolling Stone review bluntly states "Cruz's singing lacks personality, and Rokstarr is ultimately a collection of decent, but generic, Eurodisco tracks without a star--"rok" or otherwise—to hold a listener's interest."NME confess that "Although Cruz's downfall comes when he acts the player ('Break Your Heart', 'Dirty Picture'), it's obvious his real talent comes when he exchanges vocal manipulation for balladeering as on 'Falling In Love', and disregards romantic cynicism for a rather hopeful 'The 11th Hour'." David Jeffres from Allmusic rated it 3 stars (out of 5) and concluded that: "The hooks are plentiful on Rokstarr and infectious as they come. while as a producer Cruz is the Akon-meets-will.i.am-meets- Xenomania package that radio and record labels have dreamed about. Sounds good, and the album does the whole way through, but lyrics are a sore point and when ballads appear to help round out the effort, just help emphasize how his words are trite. Still, when you let the clichés fade into the background this is a master class in what the mainstream wants for a soundtrack in 2010".
The album debuted at #8 on the Billboard 200, with sales of 24,000 copies. In its second week, the album made a huge tumble from number eight to #50, with sales of just 9,000 copies. It later, dropped to #101, on its third week.
"Take Me Back", although not officially a single from Rokstarr, was included on the album. The track, featuring Tinchy Stryder, was released as a single from his album, Catch 22, peaking at #3 on the UK Singles Chart.
"Break Your Heart" was released as the first single from the album. It spent three weeks at the top of the UK Singles Chart. For its release in America, it was remixed to feature American rapper Ludacris and peaked as number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 where it remained top of the charts for one week.
"No Other One" was the second single released from the album. It was met by mixed to negative reviews from critics. It failed to meet the expectations or success of the previous single. It was only released in the UK. It reached number 42 on the UK Singles Chart and number 16 on the UK R&B Chart.
"Dirty Picture", featuring American electropop singer Kesha, was announced as the album's third single. It was released in April 2010 in Australia, and in May 2010 in the UK. It peaked at number six in the UK and number ten in Ireland. It reached number 16 in Australia and number 12 in New Zealand. The song debuted at number 96 in the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 without an official release, due to strong digital downloads following the album's U.S. release. It was sent to Top 40 and Rhythmic radio as the third U.S. single on 28 September 2010.
"Dynamite" was released as the album's fourth single overall, and the first single from the revised version of the album. The song debuted at number 26 on the Billboard Hot 100 before peaking at number two, becoming Cruz's second U.S. hit single. It also topped Australian ARIA Chart. It peaked at #1 on the UK Singles Chart.
"Higher" was released as the album's fifth single overall, and the second single from the revised version of the album. There are four versions of the song - a solo version by Cruz, a version featuring Travie McCoy, a version featuring Kylie Minogue, and a version with both McCoy and Minogue. The McCoy version was released in the U.S, while the Minogue version was released in Europe and Australia, and the version with both was released in the UK. The McCoy version was sent to U.S. radio on 30 November 2010.
"Telling the World" was released as the sixth overall single from the album, and the first single from the second revised version of the album. It was the lead single from the soundtrack to the animated film Rio, and peaked at #138 on the UK Singles Chart.
"Falling in Love" was released as the seventh overall single from the album, and the second single from the second revised edition of the album. It was only released as a single in some countries, including Spain. A music video was released on 18 February 2011.
^ Version A is the main version of the song, which was released as a single, and included on Stryder's album Catch 22. It features three rap verses by Stryder and the hook and chorus by Cruz.
^^ Version C is a solo version of the song, which replaces Stryder's rap verses with sung verses by Cruz. This version does not feature any vocals from Stryder.