Remember Jesse McCartney? You might know him from voicing Theodore in the recent Alvin and the Chipmunks animated movies, or maybe from his stint in the boy band Dream Street. Video game fans may recognize him as the voice behind the character Roxas from the Kingdom Hearts franchise.
But most remember him as the teen heartthrob behind the 2004 hit “Beautiful Soul.”
Nearly 15 years after the release of the song, which peaked at #16 on the Billboard Hot 100, McCartney brought his Resolution Tour to Boston to sing a few new songs, and of course revisit some of his older hits, including “Leavin'” and “Right Where You Want Me.”
But first, McCartney spent twenty minutes before the show to answer fan questions. He chatted about life on tour, his dog Bailey, and his favorite hair products, and, much to fans’ delight, led an impromptu “It Happens Every Time” sing-along. He confessed he hadn’t yet made a bucket list—”I wasn’t planning on kicking the bucket anytime soon”—but mentioned he wanted to try skydiving and be better at cooking. Before playing a show, he said he likes to have some coffee and a workout, and he cited Elvis Presley, Babyface, and Prince as major musical influences growing up. And of course, a Boston show taking place two days after the Patriots clinched the AFC championship couldn’t pass without someone asking him about football. “I’m a New York Giants fan,” said the Ardsley, NY native. “I live in Los Angeles, so…you know. But I’m a realist. It’s going to be very hard for the Rams to beat Tom Brady. But he’s got enough rings. I’m good if he loses. He’s got enough.”
Then it was time for opener Whitney Woerz. An 18-year-old musician who got her start posting covers YouTube three years ago, Woerz wowed the crowd with her uptempo pop songs and bouncy performance, dancing around the stage as she sang. With a distinctly modern, catchy sound, she set the mood for what was only the start of a fun night.
It’s not easy to make a setlist packed with songs from such vastly different eras in a career sound coherent, but McCartney did. Maybe the nostalgia in the room was enough to make it work: the crowd skewed older, with about more than half over 21. These were fans that grew up with McCartney’s early music, who danced along with Dream Street and heard “Beautiful Soul” on the radio at least twice a day.
Even with the inclusion of some new singles from 2018—new releases “Wasted” and “Better With You,” both of which which fit perfectly into the modern pop soundscape without sounding too overworked—and three unreleased tracks, the whole concert felt like a time capsule of sorts. A fun, slightly cheesy time capsule that reminds you of pre-Internet fandom days, when you doodled hearts on notebooks and cut out pictures from magazines. From the slickly choreographed dance moves to bringing one lucky fan onstage during “Told You So,” there were times when it felt almost a little too cheesy. But that was the beauty of the mid 2000s—there was no such thing as too cheesy. It was a less self-conscious time for pop music. And maybe that’s exactly what pop music needs more of going forward.