When I met Dream Street all those years ago, I learned a valuable lesson: patience is a virtue 😛
Namely, if I could get through 3 hours waiting in line, I can survive anything.
Meeting Jesse again 7/30/03 at Point Pleasant after an amazing concert, still the best birthday I ever had (technically, its the 29th but that was my gift, more or less).
Other than waiting for Prince’s next album and Chris Trousdale to release his first solo record, I’d waited the longest for Jesse’s new record.
I actually looked up its release date and counted: it’s been 5 years, 2 months and 2 days.
A couple other sites say it’s been four years, but I’m not counting the remix of his 3rd album “Departure.”
It was an album, at first, I was really disappointed with because I thought he was going off too far in a different direction for me to follow. I wasn’t big on R&B, certainly wasn’t big on rap and hip-hop. But luckily, “Not Your Enemy” told me what I needed to hear and I stuck around. I’ve since come around and love all the songs except for track 3… Jesse trying to be gangsta is never gonna work for me. 😛
After my half-day at work Tuesday, I went straight to Target to pick up “In Technicolor.”
It was a pretty momentous occasion. First and foremost because I’d waited a very long time for that day.
Secondly, as good as I’ve gotten driving on the highway and such, outside my writing, going outside the lines frightens me a bit, so taking this detour was a little nerve-wracking, but it was so exhilarating when I got through it.
[Now to the ACTUAL ALBUM DISCUSSION, LOL]
But anyway, got to the album that afternoon.
I have not had the best first impressions with Jesse McCartney albums. I typically come expecting one thing and the unexpected throws me off, takes me a while to warm up to it.
I kept an open mind throughout the album, tried not to fall into old pitfalls and such.
And for the most part, things went really well. One or two songs, I didn’t quite gel with, and I completely fell off track during “So Cool” because I was trying to figure out what “The Other Guy” was about.
My overall feeling was that it was a great throwback album and I picked out a lot of Jesse’s influences. Lots of Michael Jackson. A couple tracks reminded me of Madonna tracks, and Earth Wind & Fire came to mind once.
But I really didn’t know how much of the album was HIM. I love 80’s music and the homage he paid to it, but I wanted to find his soul in the music like I’ve always done. It’s part of the reason I’m the huge VeteranJMacFan that I am.
So for this second time, I’m now up to loving 8 out 13 tracks, liking 2 others and on the fence about the other 3.
One thing I gotta say: I am SO glad that I got it at Target with the two extra tracks. Not just because I really liked “So Cool,” but also because I could not take “The Other Guy” being the last song 😛 I swear one day I’m gonna listen to it and ball my eyes out because his emotional performance is so very gripping.
[Track by Track]
1. In Technicolor-part 1
-Right away, my attention was grabbed. It was so raw, so beautiful. The first few lyrics made me feel so glad I’m working now because if I was suffering through 3 years of unemployment, it would have been a turn-off and maybe ruined the whole experience
-I especially love how bare-bones it is, especially compared to ‘part 2’
-it reminds me a little of Madonna’s “Take a Bow,” a song I can’t listen to because the sound of it makes me cry.
-it stuck with me through the next track so it was hard to pay attention 😛
2. Back Together
-I find it pretty ironic that I loved Jesse in Dream Street because of the high notes he hit… when I’m not the biggest fan of his falsetto. It was the reason “My Baby” took a while to grow on me. I’m not a huge fan and it’s the only thing that detracts from an otherwise great song
-picked up some Michael Jackson influence
-the vocals at times felt more Justin Timberlake than Jesse
-it’s very catchy, the lyrics are starting to pick up in my head already
3. Young Love
-I can see myself REALLY getting this in the future when I learn the lyrics
-one or two 80’s songs come to mind, one was from Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” album “Pretender”… still figuring out the other
-love the lyrics in the bridge “dirty dancin’ to our song on the radio”
-I’m not 100% in love, but I enjoy it quite a bit.
-It’s very obviously a single, cuz it’s so darn catchy. One of two tracks that stayed with me after the album finished.
-My favorite part is the bridge where the music swells with ecstasy 😎
5. All about Us
-on the first listen, this was the first song where I really felt the connection to it and to Jesse, so it became an early favorite really quickly
-the Michael Jackson influence is VERY present and I love every second of it
-has great storytelling and varying dimensions of emotion in the vocals
-the first listen, I was considering whether I thought this was too cliché for me to get into
-second time, not full on in love like some other tracks, but I’m really liking it a lot
7. Punch Drunk Recreation
-the only other song other than “Superbad” I’d heard before getting the album. Jesse wrote on Twitter it would be featured in his new Lifetime movie “Expecting Amish” (where he was AMAZING). I found it funny how he was the DJ and was playing his own song, but it’s a GREAT jam
-the beat is very catchy just begging to be danced to
-the vocals in the background remind me of “Freaky” from “Departure” but there were some 80’s synths in there too to set it apart
-I’m so in love with the chorus, the melody in the music and the vocals… still in my head now
8. Goodie Bag
-after “Checkmate” the first time through, I wasn’t ready for more cheesy… I’m sorry, I don’t know if I can ever take this one seriously 😛 Justin Timberlake doing something like this is more believable to me
-no matter who the guy is, I’m not sure if I’d be into them if they used this as a pick-up line
[for the record, I spent years hating Justin Timberlake’s music, but everything I’d heard on the radio from “20/20” has been amazing… but I’m not a mega fan like so many other girls my age]
9. In Technicolor- part 2
-like with part 1, I was blown away the first time
-I could really feel the difference between the two. Not just in length, but the music has more dimensions, it feels more alive… whatever Jesse set out to do with his idea, he did it BRILLIANTLY
10. Tie the Knot
-right away, I thought Earth, Wind and Fire
-this is another one I feel like I’ll really get into when I learn the lyrics, it’s so much fun to listen to
11. The Other Guy
-going back to the lyrics [btw, thank you Jesse for including the lyrics, the music fan in me appreciates the gesture]
I figured out that in this scenario, Jesse is the guy the girl’s cheating WITH and as much as he wants to be with her, he feels guilty because he knows what it’s like to be cheated ON
-don’t know what it is with Jesse and piano ballads (“Not Your Enemy” was a great emotional fare for a number of reasons), but he does them SO well. I can’t help but feel there’ll come a day it’ll make me cry because I can relate to it… or I’m just a sucker for a passionate performance
12. So Cool
-more Earth Wind & Fire vibes, especially with that bassline
-ohhhh… I just realize what the piano on the latter portions of the chorus remind me off… the piano Prince does in “Partyup” from his Dirty Mind album… and I was starting to think I’d never get what Jesse meant by Prince influencing his music 😛 considering I started this blog to discuss his music because it was the only venue big and free enough, you’d think I’d pick up on this stuff more easily
-even if there are no actual lyrics on that part of the chorus, I love the melody of it
-another favorite for sure
13. Catch and Release
-the first time, I preferred it over “The Other Guy” because it didn’t understand the former
-now, I prefer the former
-I totally get that it’s about the time Jesse and his girlfriend decided to break up for a while… ‘conscious uncoupling’ if you will, again pretty emotional and it kinda sucks that Jesse can’t end this album on a happier note 😛
-I couldn’t help but respect how well it was written, how personal it is.
so overall… the math might disagree with me, but I’ll give an A/A-
compared to “Right where you want me” which I give an A/A+
“Departure” which I give a solid A-
“Beautiful Soul” which I give a B+ (I don’t feel it as much as I did years ago, mainly because the music got better and more personal)
…just before listening to the album again, I picked up one of my tokens from the concert: the JMac EP
1) I actually prefer this rawer, longer version of “Beautiful Soul” to all the bells and whistles added later on
2) Don’t You… love love love… because it takes me back to the concert, Dillon Konder (son of this album’s co-producer and one of the coolest people in Jesse’s life, Sherry Konder… without whom, I don’t know if he’d have this amazing solo career) rocking out on guitar and Katie Spencer singing back-up vocals
3) I still find “Why don’t you kiss her” a little cheesy and weak, but love the vocals… and the fact it has an acoustic “Don’t you” at the end of it
oh how times have changed. btw, I still wish Jesse was blonde 😛 but like with the falsetto, that’s just my opinion