Jessie JamesA big talent in a petite, power-packed package, James has been ready for her close-up since she was the age of two, when the self-described, well-traveled "military brat," (with a little bit of Greek and Italian thrown in there), born under the fiery Aries sign in a field hospital in Italy, started singing into a toy microphone and tape recorder, a gift from her mom. By nine, she was composing her own songs on a plastic guitar (the first called "It's Gonna Be Alright"), performing as a youngster at events like the opening of Sea World and the Republican Convention, and working with a string of significant writers in Nashville at 15.After one of her song demos landed in the hands of Mercury President David Massey, she aced an audition with IDJ boss Antonio "L.A." Reid. "He got out from behind his desk, started dancing, hugged me and said, 'We're going to dinner?and welcome to the label!'pWith a message of female empowerment and refusing to play the victim, Jessie's first single, "Wanted," which she co-wrote with American Idol judge and hit songwriter Kara DioGuardi as well as Mitch Allen and David Hodges, shows off her intensity in a full-throttle dance-rock scorcher that catches and won't let go.For Jessie James, music is her life, her passion, her lover. She won't even date, with her focus saved strictly for her career. She has no other choice. And now, she is fully prepared to see all those childhood dreams finally come true.
All Music Guide
Forget all the marketing bluster and sampled banjo loops: Jessie James is in no way a country singer, she's a Christina Aguilera wannabe in tight blue jeans and tall cowboy boots, belting out songs co-written by Kara DioGuardi and Katy Perry and constructed in ProTools. Like the girl-kissing Perry, James revels in creating the perception that she's a sexy bad girl, leaning hard on single-entendre flirtations and shopworn jokes, stooping so low to pull out the classic "is that a gun in your pocket or are you just happy to see me" on "Bullet," one of two cuts co-written by Perry. Jessie James manages to create some heat, but not enough to disguise how she, like her idols Xtina and Katy, is a complete show biz kid doing whatever she can to be a star. That eagerness to sell out can be grating, especially when her 2009 debut slides into glassy ballads, but fortunately she's also picked up (perhaps unwittingly) on the underlying oddness of Aguilera and Perry, turning out purportedly mainstream pop that puts together familiar ingredients in weird ways. Jessie struts in her "Blue Jeans," a tight rhythmic chat, turns out the best homage to early Christina Aguilera with the great first single "Wanted," delves deeply into the weird with the vaguely ominous "Psycho Girlfriend," and the shimmering, minor-key "Girl Next Door," another Katy Perry co-write that oddly recalls Kate Bush. These are inspired, original pop, and, of course, nowhere near country music -- but, hey, putting on a sassy country girl act is what it takes to get Jessie James into the game, that's fine, because the best moments of Jessie James suggest that she could wind up as enjoyably odd as her inspirations.
Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Universal Music Group
Michael Menachem, Billboard
...a voice that seems to work with many genres...
Mikael Wood, Entertainment Weekly
...plays one heck of a small-town sex kitten on up-tempo numbers like 'Blue Jeans.'
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