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Girl in a jacket

Jesse McCartney’s new EP ‘All’s Well’ out now

Jesse McCartney’s follow-up to 2021’s ‘New Stage’, ‘All’s Well’ is a fun, supple, and fascinating step on the multi-talented multi-hyphenate’s journey of expressing a true self beyond the expectations and demands — equal parts vintage Hall and Oates, postmodern swag, and honeymoon sincerity packaged in that undeniable McCartney charm.

The five tracks on ‘All’s Well’ carry through McCartney’s instantly recognizable voice but reach new soulful, swanky depths unlike anything McCartney has released to date. Lead single “Faux Fur” (one of two tracks co-produced by Morgan Taylor Reid and Andrew Dixon) is a prime example of that evolved perspective, a track equally in tune with the retro R&B majesty of DeBarge and Bruno Mars’ glow. “Some things can’t buy/ Your heart your time/ Your hand in mine,” McCartney sings, over the echoey whistles, choppy acoustic strums, deliciously wah’ed guitar, and luscious bass.

The song’s evolution to that tender, bewitching groove is emblematic of the entire EP. McCartney teamed with producer Morgan Taylor Reid for three of the tracks, taking the initial sketches and pushing them to their horn, string, and synth-laden glory via live band. “It just felt like how music used to be done and was very refreshing for me,” McCartney says. “It was a big breakthrough, and it set the tone for the rest of the project.” That lived-in ‘70s feel provokes little surprising tickles when counterpointed with McCartney’s clever modern wordplay.

No track embodies that delectable incongruity better than the EP’s cheeky second single, The Eleven-produced “Make a Baby.” A pitch-perfect blend of ‘00s Timbaland beat-making and modern pop R&B flow, the song is the most seductive McCartney has ever sounded, with pop rap sensation Yung Gravy opening the track and adding a verse. But listen closely, and every one of his splashy, sultry lines (“I want it all, it’s tasty/ I eat it up like pastry”) is matched with a line about the realities of scheduling frequent sex when making a baby is the goal (“It’s all she wants to do/ Got me on a schedule, always in the mood”). Gravy, meanwhile, offers the more youthful pop star perspective of needing to be convinced that literal baby-making is a good idea.

“Yung Gravy and I talked for several months about doing something together, but it never seemed to come together for scheduling reasons,” shares McCartney. “Then, one day during a writing session I had in LA, out came this chorus that I thought had Gravy’s name all over it. I sent it to him and he immediately loved it. He recorded his verses for ‘Make a Baby’ very soon after.” Gravy adds: “Jesse is a true legend and endlessly talented. We clicked immediately. Then he sent me this chorus and I thought instantly, this is a hit!”

“Make a Baby” hits home for its honesty — starting a family is something McCartney and wife Katie (Peterson) McCartney are building towards. “Sometimes the actual process is not the sexiest thing. There’s a lot of scheduling involved,” he laughs. “I wanted to keep it fun and playful but also illustrate that there’s some growth here. Now I’m singing about making a baby instead of leaving on a G5.”

At the other end of the emotional spectrum — yet no less honest — ”The Well” finds McCartney exploring the feeling of being stuck in some dark hole and trying to keep the darkness down there. “Post-pandemic, with the current mental health crisis that a lot of young people are in, everyone can relate to carrying a burden that you don’t want to pass on to someone else to have to share,” he says. The song came to McCartney in a jolt of poetry in the middle of the night, and he and Morgan Taylor Reid paired those lines with a Beatles-esque chord progression and lithe strings. “Any light from this far down just feels too far away,” he sighs, an immaculately dense bridge leading the way to the hopeful light at the other side. “There’s a redemptive quality at the end—and for me, it was my wife, someone to help pull me out,” he explains.

The EP’s fourth track, “Silver Spoon,” meanwhile, operates like Hall and Oates’ “Rich Girl” dissected to its base tracks and turned into a modern pop-soul jam. Over rich bass backing vocals, burnished horns, and smack-pop percussion, McCartney sings about a woman locked in a bubble of privilege. “It’s actually inspired by a person I know who is super nice but has no real concept of money or how fortunate they are—but vague enough that it could be about any number of people in LA,” he laughs. “There’s a sadness to certain people that come from money trying to fill the void by buying and spending and vacationing.” The track alternates between bouncy staccato verses and McCartney’s graceful falsetto on the chorus, the disco ball practically lowering for the song’s conclusion.

Rounding out the EP is the fifth and final track, McCartney’s solo version of “Make A Baby.” Whereas its Yung Gravy-featuring predecessor luxuriated in the funky fun, this version gets straight to the sultry point — true to its scheduled sex themes. The deep bass and plonking synths get more air, and McCartney’s layered vocals practically drip with sweat. “I like it sweet and I like it pink/ Make it drip like a kitchen sink/ Leave it in, that’s her favorite kink,” he offers in husky whispers—the song reaching unparalleled levels of intimacy.

Throughout, ‘All’s Well’ finds McCartney relishing the freedom he’s found as an independent artist over his last two records. “I’m at a place where I can choose songs that I want to release together, to release a project quicker and move onto the next idea instead of sitting and piecing together a full-length album that doesn’t feel natural,” he says. “I got to work with writers I admire, and super-talented producers who I consider close friends. There’s always going to be fans that like the mid-tempo, kitschy, goofy songs while others like the more emotional songs, but I’ve discovered that there’s no rules and I’m capable of doing everything. I tend to care less about what people think now, because at the end of the day you have to be proud of what you’ve done, and the things you’ve made. Now I understand what authenticity means to me.”

McCartney’s tracks have garnered significant attention globally, boasting over 2.4 Billion streams and almost 800 Million views on YouTube, cementing his status as a musical powerhouse. Notably, his previous track “Make A Baby,” released over a month ago, has surpassed 1 million streams. With a strong presence in Asia, McCartney has built a solid fan base in the region, particularly in his top 10 streaming markets worldwide, including #2 Philippines 🇵🇭, #4 Thailand 🇹🇭, #7 Malaysia 🇲🇾, and #8 Indonesia 🇮🇩.

Jesse McCartney

All’s Well’ tracklist:

1. Faux Fur
2. Make a Baby (feat. Yung Gravy)
3. Silver Spoon
4. The Well
5. Make A Baby (Solo Version)


Stream ‘All’s Well’ here: https://jesse-mccartney.ffm.to/allswell

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