Jessica Sanchez’s ‘Me, You & The Music’: Album Review

It’s been about a year since we saw Jessica Sanchez light up the stage (and subsequently get robbed) on season 11 of American Idol. After a full slate of post-season tour dates, performances at the NBA Finals and the DNC and a Glee guest spot, Sanchez has finally finished up her debut album, Me, You & the Music. Out today (), the 11-track effort not only highlights her undeniable vocal talent, but also showcases how much she has grown musically since her stint on Idol.

That latter point was partly a conscious decision: leading up to the album’s release, Sanchez made it clear she wanted to prove she was more than just a balladeer with this release. The other factor was the stellar lineup of songwriters and producers she recruited for the album, including Ne-YoSia, Ester Dean and Toby Gad. As a result, the album is full of tracks that will inspire dance moves, whether in your bedroom or at the club.

Lead single “Tonight,” then, was no outlier. Featuring a guest spot from Ne-Yo, it’s a fun club cut that shows Sanchez’s young, playful side. “You’ve Got the Love” may evoke Florence + the Machine with its title, but the song starts off like *NSYNC‘s “Pop,” and the track gives Jessica the opportunity to belt out those high notes without having to pour her “broken” heart out.

These aren’t the only musical experiments she tries on the LP. Sharing the mic with Prince Royce, Sanchez sings two versions of the mid-tempo electro-pop ballad “No One Compares” (one version in English, the other in Spanglish), which is produced by Italy’s Benassi Bros. The album’s biggest curveball, though, is “Don’t Come Around,” which samples Tom Petty‘s trippy 1985 track, “Don’t Come Around Here No More.” The song has more of a reggae feel than Petty’s original, and Sanchez fittingly channels a bit of Rihanna on the vocals. Meanwhile, on the R&B-inflected “In Your Hands,” Sanchez draws inspiration from Beyonce, and with the organ in the intro and background, she clearly takes it to church.

Of course, Sanchez didn’t completely abandon her ballad sweet spot. The Ne-Yo-produced “Plastic Roses” is about a love that isn’t real, and album standout “Crazy Glue” is a torch song that shows off the vocal runs and expansive range we’ve come to expect from the 17-year-old singer.

Jessica Sanchez is clearly living out her musical dreams on Me, You & the Music. She tries out several styles and sounds, as a way to prove her versatility and also just because that’s what any teen would do when given all these toys and tricks for a debut album. While the album could be a bit more cohesive, nothing here sounds forced, and the record is strong enough to put Sanchez up against today’s young, emerging pop vocalists. Sanchez has proved you don’t need to win a singing competition to put out a winning album.

Best Track That Isn’t A Single (Yet?): “In Your Hands” blends her powerful vocals with a combination of old school R&B vibes and pop sensibility.

Best Listened To: Getting ready for prom, a graduation party or an epic girls’ night out.

Rating: 3.5/5

Emily Tan

What do you think of Jessica Sancehz’s debut? Let us know in the comments, or on Facebook and Twitter.