Mini album review: Jesse McCartney - In technicolor Part 1

EP review: Jesse McCartney - In technicolor - Part 1 | Random J Pop

When Jesse McCartney transitioned into R&B with his album Departure, something didn't feel right. The move felt forced and inorganic. The entire album was just a host of R&B writers and producers forcing Jesse into a template, rather than trying to create one around him which felt right and bridged the gap between his previous album. In technicolor Part 1 marks the first album in Jesse's career where everything meets in the middle. Although he is going to draw some comparisons to a guy who goes by the initials of JT.

The best thing Jesse did was to make this an EP. Not only does it give him a chance to dip his toe in waters and gauge reactions which will inevitably shape the follow up (whether it be another EP or a long player) but it allows for a more concise and direct offering. He doesn't have the l0 track leeway to try a lot, so he has to hone in and focus on what he wants to convey and he does a pretty damn good job of it. This EP is a split evenly between R&B and 70's disco, which seems to be the angle that many artists are up-taking on at the moment. The disco resurgence being something we can thank those helmet wearing French guys for.

"Back together" sounds like a jam from New edition. When I listen to this song, I see five hi-top faded black boys doing the running man in front of a backdrop of Keith Haring art. Bubbly, effervescent and funky, with an optimistic gloss on a song about wallowing in the depression of having lost someone. "Tie the knot" sounds like something straight off of Daft Punk's Random access memories. Warm bass, syrupy guitar licks, squelchy synth bass and its disco time signatures - all on point and on check. The album opener and closer "In technicolor part 1" and "Checkmate" respectively are both ethereally swoony R&B cuts about finding someone who enables you to see life in technicolor (your lover, not a Best buy employee who had you leave with a 50 inch HDTV - who could become your lover if they're about that staff discount) and calling a relationship quits because somebody was a cheating piece of shit. Every song on this album is brilliantly produced with not a hi-hat, snare or rogue note out of place. Jesse's vocals have matured nicely and he rides every song with confidence. His vocals aren't the smoothest and sometimes he gives you bobbled cotton instead of silk. But he owns these songs better than any thing he's sung before.

In technicolor Part 1 is one of Jesse's best offerings. But it's a shame it comes at a time when nobody is paying him a great deal of attention, and those who do catch wind of this album are likely to dismiss it as a copy of Justin Timberlake's 20/20 albums. From the sharp suit on the cover to the throwback vibe. Justin Timberlake was by no means the first artist to don a suit and go retro on an album. JT's whole solo career has been built on the foundations of other artists, with him pretty much biting their styles out-right. But Jesse doing it so soon after Justin saw success with it will draw immediate comparison. Unfortunate, given that nothing Justin did with The 20/20 experience was new or exclusive to him. It's just how it will go now. Every white guy who skirts on R&B will get compared to Justin because he was one of the first to really run with it and see such huge success with it all.

Jesse is yet to really find his niche which will help set him apart, but this EP provides a solid foundation from him to work from. He's going to have a hard time of it though given that the likes of Justin Timberlake, Robin Thicke and also Travis Garland are much more accomplished singers who have found their sounds and angles and are already honing them. But what this EP does showcase is a step in the right direction and some form of self assurance in his sound. Jesse is never going to be taken seriously as an R&B artist and sales of this EP will be so low that he'll be praying that Square Enix drop another Kingdom hearts game so that he has a cheque to cash. But what can't be dismissed is how well produced this album is and how decent the songs are.

In technicolor Part 1 really surprised me. I went into this with low expectations and came out on the other side of it looking forward to Part 2.

Album highlights:
■ In technicolor part 1 ★ J's fave
■ Back together
■ Tie the knot
■ Checkmate


  1. Sometimes I forget you're gay until I see you talking about Kylie Minogue or deconstructing Beyawnce and then I'm like, "Oh yeah, J's one of the boys."

  2. Didn't realize King Jesse had released a new mini. Thanks for this.

  3. I'll listen to this album later, but I just wanted to share that Crystal is almost at her goal for her Kick-starter. Looks like her home girls Beni and BoA opened up them purses after all.

  4. I can't believe people thought she was going urban! Darkchild & Pharrell haven't been "urban" since 2006! I want Kylie to succeed in the States, but if this is the lead single, I highly doubt it! I'm not a fan of this whole "Wrecking Ball"-esque song; it's just copy and paste to me!

    But, maybe I'm wrong and this could end up being a top 40 hit soon! :)

  5. It's really a shame that he still has that old image clinging to him when his sound and development over the years has really become quite mature. I stay rocking to just the intro to this EP - it's messed up that it's only the intro when it could've easily clocked in at six minutes and bored me far less than anything on the 20/20 Experience (yes I had to throw that shade, it was necessary).

    Thanks for the review J, I couldn't figure what was up with the disco angle, but now I see it.

    (And they better let Roxas come back in the next Kingdom Hearts game. Ain't nobody got time for Sora's empty-headed love and justice concepts.)

  6. I actually really like it, I agree that it's usually the follow up singles that are the interesting ones but this is a bit of a breath of fresh air and really upbeat and nice.
    I think the only thing that would stop this being a hit is if the radio *cough*Radio1*Cough* go all shitty like they did with MKS and don't play it. I seriously hate Radio 1... such a load of stuck up hipsters.

    P.S "All the lovers" was amazing... so different to everything else at the time.

  7. It's the weaker version of Put Your Hands Up (If You Feel Love).

  8. This is cute but as a fan I don't like the sound

  9. "Ain't nobody got time for Sora's empty-headed love and justice concepts"

    *LOL* But Haley Joel needs that Disney income more than Jesse does.

  10. I don't think Kylie will ever blow up in the States. But now is as good a time for her as ever to try and make that happen. She will need to cater different types of songs to US radio though - because I agree with you: "Into the blue" won't do shit on US radio and neither will her other singles if they adhere to the typical Kylie template.

  11. This. I loved Miss Miss me, but didn't like he 2nd half of the music video.


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