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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Jesse McCartney is all-grown up and his songs reflect a new and sexier image. The first single off his third album, "Leavin'" has a sexually-infused video featuring McCartney and a barely-clothed model. Although there is nothing explicit on the album, there are numerous references to love, lust, and sex.
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What's the story?
The bleach-blonde teen heartthrob that used to sing about "beautiful souls" is now a 21 year old with a suave look and sound. Gone are the feel-good pop tunes which are now replaced by more sexually-charged R&B and hip-hop tracks. Departure is appropriately named: He's left behind his clean-cut image for a new sound that is a blend of retro funk and soulful pop in the tradition of Justin Timberlake. McCartney hasn't gone too far with the transformation however, and is still safe for mainstream radio.
Is it any good?
It's a difficult task for a singer to switch genres, especially if the original formula was as successful as it was for Jesse McCartney. But he has made the leap from sweet balladeer to soulful singer gracefully. Crooning about romance and relationships, McCartney can play the seducer on tracks like "Leavin'" and "Rock You" or the fool in love like on "Relapse." His urban sound is authentic and his naturally smooth singing ability keeps him from looking like a poser. Only a few tracks like "Not Your Enemy" fall flat, mainly because they hearken back to McCartney's younger overly-sentimental days.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how teen stars make the transition to adulthood. McCartney has toned down his hair color and given himself a smoother look. His musical style has also changed to a more urban sound. Do you think this is a natural progression for him as an artist or a marketing trick by his record label? Why do pop artists feel the need to sell sex more as they come of age and get older? Is this a sign of maturity or immaturity?