Jessie James, "Jessie James"
Judging by some of the song titles ("Guilty," "My Cowboy," "Wanted") on her self-titled debut, one could say that 20-year-old Georgia newcomer Jessie James lives up to her name as the female version of the American outlaw. The standout track "Bullet" slams with double-entendres, as the diva teases, "Be careful what you wish for/You get what you see/Is that a gun in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?" The spotlight shines brightest on the ballad "Burnin' Bridges," with verses sung with a phrasing that brings to mind Carrie Underwood's "Jesus Take the Wheel." James carries a sweet melody on the midtempo song "Inevitable," while "Blue Jeans" offers a countrified, rhythmic pulse. With a voice that seems to work with many genres, James' set is reminiscent of hits from late-'90s pop acts, but with a more mature, sexually charged attitude and influence from country and hip-hop. --Michael Menachem