Chances are you didn't know Jesse McCartney released his first album in six years last week. If you did, you probably didn't care. Maybe you half-heartedly danced to "Leavin'" at a high school dance, but you certainly don't have any attachment to him. You're not alone in that – otherwise, In Technicolor wouldn't have only sold 7,846 copies in its first week.
That's not a typo. Remember that Robin Thicke's instantly notorious bomb Paula sold three times that number in its first week. McCartney's album is unquestionably a bomb – and that's a shame, because it's easily one of the best pop albums of the year.
McCartney is clearly taking his efforts to become a Serious Artist seriously, co-writing every song on the record. He's studied the elements that make neo-soul great and deployed them in artful, interesting ways. "Punch Drunk Recreation" is a sexy slice of fun, and single "Superbad" would have been a worthy selection for our Song of Summer. The whole album is danceable and delectable, and a real artistic statement for McCartney.
Yet the question becomes: Who is this album for? McCartney has aged out of one fanbase and never found another. He was a teen heartthrob in the Beautiful Soul/Summerland days, a lightweight bit of fluff to be enjoyed and forgotten. But McCartney wasn't going down without a fight. He showed new depth by co-writing the hit Leona Lewis song "Bleeding Love" and releasing his third album Departure. He wasn't a sensation, but he wasn't a teen flash in the pan, either.