Friday, August 11, 2006

There's something I wanna ask

Jesse McCartney, what is this? You are not a bad-looking boy, but this is not a good photo. Maybe it's the angle of your face. I don't think it's the new haircut, although that's possible. The hoodie doesn't help. I love hoodies; they may be one of the greatest inventions of all time--perfect for those days when you just want to roll out of bed, throw something on, stumble across campus, and fall asleep in the back of the classroom. So, hoodies--great, but for an album cover? They are not flattering, Jesse. Combine its bulge, the hood making it look like you have no neck, and the angle of your face (which makes it impossible to tell what your facial structure might actually be)--well, I think you can see where I'm going with this. Practically any picture I've seen of you is better than this one. And don't even get me started on the shady (both literally and figuratively) background you are standing in front of. I understand if you want to be seen as a "serious" "artist" and don't want to pose, say, on beaches or pulling your shirt down anymore, but really, can't you come up with something that is at least flattering, and possibly creative?

Why has no one said anything about this? This cover has been floating around the blogosphere for weeks and all I've heard are positive comments. Maybe I'm out of touch; after all, I'm not really a fan of the new Justin Timberlake cover either.

Anyhow, onto some music. I should note that Jesse McCartney's first album, Beautiful Soul, does have some ballads and songs that sound different from the ones here, but I tend to prefer his cheesy happy pop, so that's mainly what today's music is.

Beautiful Soul--Jesse McCartney's most famous song. It's pretty much pure pop, right down to the tiny bell "ding"'s and tambourine shakes in the background. It's also filled with such cliched sentiment that it's easy to resist at first; I did, brushing it off as simply generic feel-good fluff--and that it might be, but it's so happy sounding that, eventually, resistance becomes futile. The middle 8 is a complete change of pace--not a dance break, unfortunately, but a little edgier-sounding.

She's No You--Jesse continues the "let's make the girl feel better about herself" theme. The lyrics here are, if possible, even more over-the-edge in cliche than in "Beautiful Soul" and whoever thought they would be romantic was definitely wrong (see that pretty girl over there? and that one? and that one? and the one on the magazine cover? look at all these gorgeous girls around me! but don't worry, your personality makes you the best), but the song is still good. Includes some "oooo"-ing, which is always a good thing.

Get Your Shine On--Jesse's attempt at a dance song, or at least dancier. I think All Music or iTunes (which might be the same thing) compared this song to Michael Jackson, and though Jesse and MJ's voices don't sound alike, that at least gives you an idea of how this song is different from either of the previous two. It's also maybe a bit funkier and faster. If you're getting tired of the sentiment in the two previous songs, try this one; Jesse's still impressed by a girl, but there's a different vibe to it this time.

Because You Live--this is slower and more ballad-ish than "Beautiful Soul" and "She's No You," but it still feels like it forms a trio with them, sort of in style but mainly in the emotion behind it.

Take Your Sweet Time--I wasn't originally planning on including this song, but threw it in at the last minute because it's at least a little different from the rest of the Beautiful Soul music I've included here. It's a ballad that's not quite as extravagent as the previous songs; less backing instrumentation, and generally more low-key.

What's Your Name?--probably my favorite song on Beautiful Soul. I suppose it, too, is like "Beautiful Soul" and all the other songs like it, but I think it's the most fun and the catchiest. The beat is mid-tempo, but the words come pretty fast in the verses. It doesn't have all the cute background noises of "Beautiful Soul," but it's still happy and summery.

She's No You (Neptunes Remix)--sadly, this remix does not make "She's No You" an amazing dance song; essentially, it just adds some rapping and makes the beat more R&B. If nothing else, it's amusing for the fact that the rapped lyrics were given the OK to be on the soundtrack to a Disney television show and the reference to "Jesse Mac."

Best Day Of My Life--the previous song and this one are included mainly because I wanted to try to provide a few songs that were at least a little rare (i.e., not on his main album); I don't know that they're that great, but they're all right. This song is from a movie soundtrack and can also be heard in a live version on The Beautiful Soul Tour CD. It's a little less exuberant and summery than most of the other songs provided here, but it, too, is mid-tempo and about (shocking!) Jesse being in love with a girl.

Right Where You Want Me--the lead single from Jesse's upcoming second album. It's definitely a departure from his previous songs. It's not (to use words I seem to use in practically every one of these descriptions) as happy and summery; it's a bit moodier, and Jesse's voice seems different--harsher, maybe? I suppose you could call it a maturer sound; it's maturer in theme, too. It's not as instantly lovable as "Beautiful Soul" or "What's Your Name?" but it's a grower and it is good (even if the video is sort of creepy; the performance parts are fine, but whenever Jesse's riding his bike or car next to the girl, there's something weird about it). Can anyone tell me what Jesse's delivery of "I can hardly stand the thrill" (especially the "thrill") reminds me of?

You can buy Jesse McCartney's first album, Beautiful Soul, here (physical) or here (digital; search for "Jesse McCartney") and pre-order his second album, Right Where You Want Me, here (physical).

Next up: I'm not totally sure--possibly pianos, possibly some '90's music...or something else entirely.

(It occurred to me that many of Jesse's album and single covers aren't actually that good; who is his publicist? The album cover might look better in a bigger version, but I still don't think I'll be a big fan of it.)


Paul said...

we have eeerily similar music tastes - last year i thought "my life needs some needy for love teen boy pop" so i bought Jesse, Ryan Cabrera, Gavin Degraw and Tyler Hilton ( I was into One Tree Hill at the time but what a pile of poo that turned out to be).

I really like Best Day Of My Life and Beautiful Soul deserved to do a lot better than it did. i look forward to the second album. Hopefully it will be more successful than the second season of summerland...

Daimn said...

"Get Your Shine On" was utterly impressive. This dude has more groove than I had anticipated!

Poster Girl said...

Well, Paul, I like Busted and Clay Aiken, if that helps make it any less eerie ;) Scarily (again), I was planning on posting about some of those other ones in the future at some point. Really, can't everyone use some teen boy pop in their lives now and again? Poor "Summerland"--proof that no matter how many people running around in bathing suits you have, your show can still get cancelled.

I have to agree about "Get Your Shine On" ("groove" is a really good word for it); it's a really nice break from the rest of the album and it'd be nice to see some more songs in that vein in the future.