Jammin’ with Jess: Nick Carter

Former Backstreet Boy Nick Carter is back in the music industry, with the release of his solo album “All-American,” an 11-track record of questionable pop-rock.

The album starts with “19 in 99,” a catchy and upbeat number reminiscing of the good ol’ days, former loves and living life to the fullest.

It then goes into the single “Get Over Me,” with guest vocals from pop-rock star Avril Lavigne. The song is everything you’d expect it to be, with a balance of memorable pop themes and slightly edgier rock guitars.

The next song, “California,” didn’t really stand out. It was another stereotypical pop song that didn’t emotionally take me anywhere.

“Second Wind” came next, taking on an interesting alternative rock (borderline indie-pop) style which was very unexpected — in a good way. The lyrics were very meaningful, discussing wanting to “get away” from your problems and getting a “second wind” towards hope.

“Swet” is a somewhat jarring piece, in that it sounded like a male version of a Madonna-esque pop-rock song, and I’m not sure that it works for Carter here.

“Cherry Pie” was another track that rubbed me the wrong way. The song itself didn’t seem to stay in one genre. One minute, it was sexy and sensual, the next it was bubblegum cute, and at other times employed jazzy themes – melodically and lyrically.

“Tijuana” brings back some of the more rock aspects I had been hoping for. Despite the cliché lyrics and themes, not a bad piece overall.

“All-American,” the album’s namesake, is one of the best. Reminiscent of rock band Good Charlotte, it was very catchy, with memorable lyrics such as “I pledge allegiance to you in Levi’s.”

“Man on the Moon” comes next, an interesting blend of supercharged pop that incorporates some themes of old-timey 60s pop-rock.

“Horoscope” was another brilliant pop-rock piece, with brilliant lyrics and themes about not wanting to know the fate of two lovers.

The final track, “I Will Wait,” ended the album with a hauntingly beautiful acoustic number about waiting for someone.

Overall, a decent pop album, and half of what I was expecting, given Carter’s background. I had been intrigued because the album had been categorized as pop, pop-rock and pop-punk, but I was disappointed with the lack of punk themes. But the pop was catchy, and the pop-rock was as anticipated. The album is worth a listen, but not something I would return to again and again.

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