Follow Us on Twitter

Jesse McCartney - Departure

Jesse McCartney, Departure

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 2 out of 5

HAVING sold two million albums, US singer/songwriter Jesse McCartney has “done a Nelly Furtado” and reinvented his sound in order to launch a full-scale assault on the British music scene.

But where Furtado succeeded in creating a genuinely exciting new direction that yielded richly deserved commercial results, McCartney feels like he’s merely cashing in on the latest music trends.

Hence, Departure sounds like a crude mix of Timbaland style beat, Justin Timberlake borrowed falsetto vocals, Janet Jackson improvised raunch and Usher/Chris Brown-motivated R’n‘B.

Needless to say, there’s the usual who’s who of big-name producers twiddling nobs behind the scenes. Tricky & The Dream (responsible for Rihanna’s Umbrella) are present, as is Sean Garrett (Beyonce, Gwen Stefani), JR Rotem (Britney Spears) and Balewa Muhammad (Christina Aguilera).

The result isn’t terrible. Merely packaged for easy success and lazy in the sense that it’s pandering to a generic music trend.

That said, there are terrible moments. Rock You, featuring Sean Garrett, is a hideous fusion of electro and hip-hop that sounds like The Beastie Boys singing with hangovers after 24-hour sleep depravation. It’s the stuff of nightmares and, after hearing it, you’ll think that Madonna is a hip hop genius!

Into Ya, meanwhile, is a sexual innuendo laden homage to love making that’s more infantile than sexy. McCartney sounds too boyish to be uttering lines like “while you’re on your back, I’m gonna touch you slowly” and “if you let me put it inta ya, for so long I’ve been trying to get inta ya”. He’s certainly no Enrique Iglesias.

The urban style of Makeup, meanwhile, feels like an attempt to pander to the Stomp The Yard/Step Up crowd, which lacks any real gravitas.

Indeed, it’s all very pop-lite and of the moment – meaning disposable and instantly forgettable.

Guilty pleasures, of sorts, come from former single Leavin’, which drops an insanely catchy central melody and hook; How Do You Sleep?, an ooh-ah heavy pop record that contains enough fizz to endear, and Told You So, a Michael Jackson/Justin Timberlake wannabe that feels like a better use of McCartney’s vocal talents.

But even though such moments won’t have you reaching for the skip or off button quite as quickly, there’s always another mis-step (such as My Baby and Relapse) to turn you back off again.

It’s called Departure in the sense that it marks a creative one from McCartney’s previous work – but you may wish to say farewell to this new material quicker than that.

Download picks: Leavin’, Freaky, How Do You Sleep?

Track listing:

  1. Leavin’
  2. It’s Over
  3. Rock You
  4. How Do You Sleep
  5. Into Ya
  6. Make Up
  7. My Baby
  8. Told You So
  9. Relapse
  10. Runnin’
  11. Freaky
  12. Not Your Enemy