Jesse McCartney

Right Where You Want Me

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It may not have made huge waves, but Jesse McCartney's debut album, Beautiful Soul, was an undeniable hit, one of the biggest hits on the tween scene since Hilary Duff no longer belonged just to Radio Disney. McCartney filled the hole Duff left behind at Radio Disney, as his slick, sugary confections constantly played on that channel and on The Disney Channel, too. It set the stage perfectly for a mainstream crossover, just as Hilary Duff made serious inroads outside of the Disney community after her second album, and that's what his 2006 sophomore effort, Right Where You Want Me, was designed to be. Unfortunately, it doesn't quite deliver on its intentions. Right Where You Want Me goes just a little bit too far in making McCartney into a mainstream star -- rather, it goes a little bit too far in making McCartney mature, removing the snap from his bubblegum by giving him too many ballads to sing and too much production to sing through. He amiably gives it his all, yet the problem doesn't lie with McCartney: it's with the material and its presentation, which is too reserved for tweens, too kiddie for adult contemporary. So, it's the equivalent of musical puberty: McCartney may be closing in on 20, but this finds him in his awkward phase where he's not a boy yet not a man, and the record will only please those fans who are sticking by him through their own awkward phases. Fortunately, McCartney is enough of a showbiz pro that when he survives this transition, he'll be able to come through and deliver a good third album that builds on the better sections of this record.

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