Jesse McCartney Delivers His Best Album on In Technicolor
Jesse McCartney • In Technicolor • Eight0Eight • US Release Date: July 22, 2014
Jesse McCartney isn’t exactly your go to commercial pop artist. His career has been inconsistent in regards to sales. That said, McCartney has had some worthwhile success, including top 20 single (“Beautiful Soul”) and platinum album in Beautiful Soul in 2004, as well as a sensational urban-pop makeover with 2008 LP Departure. Departure wasn’t a hugely successful album, but yielded successful singles “Leavin’” and “How Do You Sleep.”
That leads to McCartney’s long awaited new album. Six years after Departure bows, McCartney returns with In Technicolor. Preceded by 2013 four-song EP In Technicolor (Part 1) , In Technicolor gives one of pop’s most underrated artists his best album to date. Mixing pop, retro-soul, and contemporary R&B commandingly, Jesse McCartney has a legitimate hit on his hands.
“In Technicolor, Pt. I” and “Back Together” open the album, both reprisals from the 2013 EP. “In Technicolor, Pt. I” possesses an urban flare that plays to McCartney’s artistic strengths. Vocally, the brief interlude foreshadows the artist’s exceptional vocal skill.
“Back Together” establishes a feel-good vibe about In Technicolor, with its retro-pop/soul throwback. The overall song suits McCartney, with the artist patterning himself stylistically after Justin Timberlake and Michael Jackson. Well produced, well written, and enjoyable, “Back Together” is a clear standout.
“Young Love” recalls the 80s, with its pop/rock edge – think Michael Jackson during his Bad era. Thematically, McCartney is infatuated with this girl, much like a puppy dog: “Young love, girl I’m still drooling like a baby / young love, it feels like I’m seventeen / so what if we’re older than we’re acting lately / young love is all that we’ll ever be.” Even if McCartney’s acts childish given his infatuation, “Young Love” is a winner.
“Superbad” is even better, which is saying something considering the consistency across the board on In Technicolor. The groove is definitely head nodding and foot tapping good, with feel-good, danceable urban-pop being the script. “Superbad” yields plenty of notable lyrics including, “My girl’s a supersonic sex machine / she’ll put the Technicolor in your screen.” Not only is Jesse’s Girl ‘bad,’ so is this song – in a good way that is!
“All About Us” continues the ‘bicep flexing fest’ that is In Technicolor. “Grey area wants me to choose sides / and this line of questioning is new, out of the blue,” the artist sings questioning the status of the relationship. EP reprisal “Checkmate” may be even better, as McCartney constantly refers to himself as ‘the king’ (“How will you feel when the king has gotta lie down?”). Ultimately, McCartney calls ‘checkmate’: “…you will always lose when you choose to make the moves that you make.”
“You don’t have to say a damn word / your body says it all.” There it is! “Punch Drunk Recreation” is definitely a booty shaker for men and women. A balance between old- and new school, it is nothing short of hip. “Faded / stumblin’ through these ladies / none of ‘em even phase me, hey,” sings McCartney playfully on the first verse, “Drinkin’ / sippin’ that liquid courage / trying to get Mrs. Perfect, hey.” Ill, slick, sick adjectively describes this juggernaut.
“Goodie Bag” has a tough at to follow, and though it doesn’t one-up, it delivers yet another respectable showing by McCartney. “In Technicolor, Pt. II,” a full-length follow-up to “In Technicolor, Part I,” is even stronger, with incredible production, sensational falsetto, and sound songwriting. “I don’t want to be without you / Livin’ in a world with no view / what the hell would I do, would I do,” asks the love-smitten musician.
Penultimate track “Tie The Knot” is the final reprisal from the EP, remaining a standout given its soulfulness, bursting horns, and chivalrous songwriting. Closing cut “The Other Guy” is magnificent, finding McCartney showing off his immense, underrated vocal abilities. A stripped number, “The Other Guy” begins with only piano accompaniment, eventually adding impactful strings. The vocal melody itself is splendid.
When it’s all said and done, Jesse got it done on In Technicolor. There’s no misses, just solid, well-produced and performed urban-pop tracks. McCartney doesn’t change the game with this album, but he definitely uses his talents incredibly effectively to their highest level. Most disappointing about this album is the fact that more people are unaware of it – many would be elated by this winning affair.
Favorites: “Back Together,” “Superbad,” “Punch Drunk Reaction,” “In Technicolor, Pt. II,” “Tie the Knot”