One of the defining — and most daring — albums of the modern pop era is *NSYNC's 'Celebrity', which in its more adventurous moments somehow found a way to take quite avant garde electronic sounds, throw in some credible 'n' serious urban influences, and repackage the whole thing as the ultimate millennial boyband proposition.
Of course the album was a relative failure and the band disintegrated shortly afterwards but there's a lot of 'Celebrity' in 'Departure', the new album by Jesse McCartney.
After a couple of fairly mediocre albums 'Departure' repositions McCartney alongside Justin Timberlake and Chris Brown and stands as an exciting, brilliantly produced landmark on the post-'Maneater' pop landscape.
This is one song from the album, called 'How Do You Sleep'.
Jesse has songwriting credits on a few tracks — he co-wrote Leona Lewis' 'Bleeding Love' — but most of the album is thrown over to a selection of contributors including people like C 'Tricky' Stewart, The Clutch, Sean Garrett and JR Rotem. There will be questions from some about credibility and authorship and this sudden change in direction but most of the songs, like 'Rock You'…
…are strong enough for none of that to matter. The album is flawed and it sometimes stops frustratingly short of really getting its tits out and waving them in your face but when it works well, like on this song 'My Baby'…
…we find ourselves thinking that if Michael Jackson was recording 'Off The Wall' in 2008 it would probably sound a bit like this. [CLARIFICATION: WE ARE NOT SAYING THIS ALBUM IS ACTUALLY AS GOOD AS 'OFF THE WALL'.] Other highlights include the brilliant 'Runnin'' ("we became the best of friends, we went from half full to half empty" — amazing) and 'Make Up', which appears to have an accordion (!?) in it.
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
12. Not Your Enemy