Sweet Kisses

Last updated
Sweet Kisses
Jessica Simpson - Sweet Kisses.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedNovember 23, 1999 (1999-11-23)
Recorded1998–1999
Genre
Length44:28
Label Columbia
Producer
Jessica Simpson chronology
Sweet Kisses
(1999)
Irresistible
(2001)
Singles from Sweet Kisses
  1. "I Wanna Love You Forever"
    Released: September 28, 1999
  2. "Where You Are"
    Released: January 2, 2000
  3. "I Think I'm in Love with You"
    Released: May 18, 2000

Sweet Kisses is the debut studio album by American singer Jessica Simpson. The album was released in the United States on November 23, 1999, by Columbia Records. The album's lyrical and visual representations carried the common theme of virginal innocence – a continuation of the late-1990s teen-pop revival. The album was produced to capitalize on the success of teen artists Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, who both debuted earlier that year. Sweet Kisses was a hit in the US, peaking at number 25 on the Billboard 200 albums chart, as well as being certified 2× Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), for shipments of over two million copies. The album sold four million copies in total.

Contents

Sweet Kisses spawned three singles, including Simpson's debut single "I Wanna Love You Forever", which is her biggest hit in the US. The second single was a duet: "Where You Are" with future husband Nick Lachey of 98 Degrees. The third single was the "Jack and Diane"-sampling dance track "I Think I'm in Love With You".

Background

Simpson first developed and nurtured her talent in her local Baptist church, where her father also worked as the congregation's youth minister. At age twelve, she unsuccessfully auditioned for The Mickey Mouse Club . [1] While attending a church camp, at the age of 13, Simpson sang Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You" and an arrangement of "Amazing Grace". One of the camp's visitors was launching a Gospel music record label and saw great promise and profits in her voice. It was during this time, while attending J. J. Pearce High School, Simpson signed to Proclaim Records, a minor Gospel music record label. She recorded an album, Jessica, but Proclaim went bankrupt and the album was never officially released except for a small pressing funded by her grandmother. This small pressing gained her minor attention which led her to performing at concerts with other gospel legendary acts such as Kirk Franklin, God's Property, and CeCe Winans. When she was seventeen years old, Columbia Records executive Tommy Mottola heard Jessica, he was impressed with Simpson's musical talent and skill. Mottola instantly thought Simpson sounded like Mariah Carey. Simpson was immediately signed to the label. She dropped out of high school but later earned her GED. [2] [3]

Simpson also collaborated with Sam Watters for the album. Watters produced the singles "I Wanna Love You Forever" and "Where You Are", as well as "Heart of Innocence". Watters also co-wrote the track "I Wanna Love You Forever", along with Louis Biancaniello. Carl Sturken and Evan Rogers also produced the tracks "I've Got My Eyes On You" and "Betcha She Don't Love You" together, though neither track was released as a single. Simpson's label wanted Sweet Kisses to be different from that of Aguilera's and Spears' debut albums, in that they were sexually risque, especially the lead singles from both albums. For Sweet Kisses, the label decided they wanted Simpson to be the "anti-sex appeal", to which Simpson would sing about love and romance rather than sexual themes. Simpson's "virgin" image was thought of as a great idea by the label, who felt that it would draw in listeners by making a girl whom they could relate to. Simpson also announced in an interview that should would be abstinent until marriage, which helped listeners give her the appearance the label was hoping for. [4]

Music and lyrics

The album deals mainly with themes of love, romance, and life from a teenage perspective. "I Wanna Love You Forever" was written, composed, and produced by Louis Biancaniello and Sam Watters. The track is a darkly bittersweet love ballad, showing off the powerful vocals of Simpson. Even though Biancaniello and Watters are credited jointly for writing and composing the song, at present, it is not known exactly which of the two wrote its lyrics and which composed its music. According to the sheet music book published by Hal Leonard Corporation in Musicnotes.com, "I Wanna Love You Forever" is a common time signature song, with a beat rate of 132 beats per minute. It is set in the key of B minor with Simpson's voice ranging from the tonal nodes of B3 to F#5. The song follows a basic sequence of I–II–IV–II–VV progression. [5]

Release and promotion

Sweet Kisses was released on 23 November 1999 through Columbia Records in United States, Canada, Australia and Europe. Following year, it was released in Japan, on 19 January 2000 through Sony Music Entertainment. [6] [7]

Singles

"I Wanna Love You Forever" was the first single of the album, and was released in September 1999. The song became Simpson's highest charting single in the United States, peaking at number three on the Billboard Hot 100. Its commercial sales were particularly strong, and landed the single atop the Hot 100 Singles Sales for six weeks; this in turn earned the song a platinum certification. It was also a top ten hit in Canada. Worldwide, the single was successful, as it peaked within the top ten in most European nations and Australia, which reached the top ten in Norway, Sweden, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Belgium and Australia. "Where You Are" was released as the second single from the album. The single failed to reach even the top fifty of the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at sixty-two. The song did, however, become a relative Adult Contemporary hit. Strangely enough though, dance fans reacted strongly to the physical single of the song and the song became a hit on the Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales reaching number four. Internationally, the song was not released in major music markets excluding Canada. "I Think I'm In Love With You" was the third and final single released from her debut album. It was more up tempo than Simpson's previous singles and became a moderate hit, reaching number twenty-one on the US Billboard Hot 100, largely on the strength of its radio airplay; it reached the top five on Billboard's Top 40 Mainstream and achieved success on the Adult Contemporary and Rhythmic Top 40 charts. Worldwide, it was a moderate hit, peaking at number ten on Australian ARIA Singles Chart, and reached the top twenty in Canada, United Kingdom and New Zealand.

Critical reception

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
Allmusic Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svg [8]
Entertainment Weekly C− [9]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide Star full.svgStar half.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svg [10]
The Village Voice D [11]
HOT SAUCE REVIEWS3/5 [12]

The album received mostly mixed reviews. Allmusic gave the album three out of five stars, quoting, "She delves into the frothy dance-pop that's teen pop's stock-in-trade, but the heart of her album lies in adult contemporary ballads like her breakout hit "I Wanna Love You Forever," which gives her a chance to show off the richness of her voice. She doesn't over-sing, like Aguilera occasionally does, even if she has moments where she pushes the envelope slightly — just like her idol Dion. However, there are already indications that she's developing her own voice, since she is equally capable of delivering danceable urban R&B ("Final Heartbreak," "I've Got My Eyes on You," the Destiny's Child duet "Woman in Me") as she is mature balladry ("Faith in Me," the Nick Lachey duet "Where You Are"). Like most teen-pop albums, Sweet Kisses suffers from inconsistent material, yet the filler is well-produced and performed, making the record every bit as listenable as Aguilera's fine debut." [8] People Magazine was less critical of the album, quoting "Blonde, pouty-lipped and impossibly cute, Jessica Simpson is as tough to pick out of a lineup of lookalike teenage songbirds as her breathless hit "I Wanna Love You Forever" is difficult to differentiate from the rest of Top 40 radio. So far, Simpson's debut album hasn't scored the same success as those of Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. But rest assured there are more cookies like "I Wanna" in Simpson's cutter. One ditty, titled "Where Are You," is a duet with 98° boy-toy Nick Lachey, Simpson's real-life squeeze. Unlike her peers the 19-year-old Simpson is not a former member of Disney's Mickey Mouse Club. She auditioned for the show at age 12 but didn't make the cut. Also setting her apart from the teen pop pack is Simpson's track record as a performer on the Christian music circuit. Here, she sounds downright worldly singing "Heart of Innocence"—a devotional tune she wrote extolling the virtues of premarital abstinence—in a low, sexy croon. Bottom Line: Teen yearnings set to a watery R&B beat." [13] Although Hot Sauce Reviews was critical of Simpson's oversinging, the review was overrall positive of the album, writing that it has "enough fine pop tunes to make it an enjoyable listen" and conluded that "everything about Sweet Kisses is well-crafted, radio friendly pop stuff that is worth a listen", with the exception of "Where You Are". [12] Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine praised Sweet Kisses as a hopeful debut when comparing her next album negatively to it. [14]

Entertainment Weekly gave the album a C-, stating "Jessica Simpson, a melodramatic 19, chirps cheeky Mariah Carey-isms on Sweet Kisses, a subpar portfolio, missing the soulful target almost every time. 'Do you wanna see the woman in me?/Let me show you,' she lasciviously hisses in one laughable instance, backed by a doo-wopping Destiny's Child. Uh, thanks, but no, kid. Been there, done that. Mom's waiting for you outside in the station wagon." [9] Robert Christgau wrote in The Village Voice : "Simpson is a blonde who got out of cheerleading early to prepare herself for whatever show business offered--game-show sidekick, R-rated remake of Debbie Does Dallas , bond trader seeking trophy wife. What she got was a John Cougar [Mellencamp] sample and the hard-earned ability to carry a tune. We know teenpop is rarely as vapid, prefab, and faux-wholesome as gatekeepers who've barely listened to it claim. So let's not tell them about this 'refreshing blend of pop, R&B and [note copywriter getting desperate] gospel-flavored sounds.'" [11]

Commercial performance

Initially, the album debuted at number sixty-five on the US Billboard 200, selling 65,000 copies in its first week, [15] [16] significantly lower than expected by Columbia Records, as the first single from the album was a hit, peaking at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100. The following week, Sweet Kisses had dropped to number seventy, and continuing down the following weeks. To boost record sales, the label released the second single "Where You Are", but could not reach the success of its predecessor "I Wanna Love You Forever". While Sweet Kisses was kept in the top sixty for several weeks, the label decided to make one last attempt to launch the third single from the album. "I Think I'm in Love With You" was released in May 2000, instantly became a hit on radio stations that helped to rise from posts and the album reached the peak of twenty-five in August 2000. [17] In total, the album stayed on the chart for sixty-two weeks. [17] The album was certified 2× Platinum by the RIAA. [18] The album has sold about 1.9 million copies in the United States. In territories outside of the United States, the album had a similar chart effect. In Canada, Sweet Kisses peaked at number thirty-four on Canadian Albums Chart and was certified Platinum by the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA; now Music Canada). In Europe, the album performed better on the charts, peaking at number four in Norway and was certified Gold for sales 15,000 copies in that territory. [19] and number five in Switzerland and remains Simpson's only top five album in that territory. It also peaked at number fifty-five in Sweden. In Japan, the album debuted at number sixteen on the Oricon albums chart, making it her only album to date to chart within the top twenty in Japan. In the United Kingdom, where the singles were met with a great commercial performance, the album debuted at number thirty-six. This makes Sweet Kisses Simpson's highest charting album in the United Kingdom, tied with her third studio album In This Skin (2003). In Australia, the album debuted at number fifty-two, surprising the label as the album had spawned two top ten hits in the country. In total, Sweet Kisses has sold four million copies worldwide. [20]

Track listing

Sweet Kisses — Standard edition
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."I Wanna Love You Forever"
  • Watters
  • Biancaniello
4:24
2."I Think I'm in Love with You"
  • Rooney
  • Shea
3:18
3."Where You Are" (featuring Nick Lachey)
  • Watters
  • Biancaniello
  • Adamantia Stamatopoulou
  • Lachey
  • Biancaniello
  • Watters
4:32
4."Final Heartbreak"Eric Foster WhiteWhite3:40
5."Woman in Me" (featuring Destiny's Child) Robbie Nevil 3:51
6."I've Got My Eyes on You"
  • Paul Rein
  • Johan Åberg
3:34
7."Betcha She Don't Love You"
  • Sturken
  • Rogers
  • Sturken
  • Rogers
4:13
8."My Wonderful"
  • London Jones
  • Dwight Sills
Jones4:13
9."Sweet Kisses"
  • Andy Goldmark
  • Jamie Houston
  • J. D. Hicks
  • Goldmark
  • Houston
3:23
10."Your Faith in Me"
  • Dane DeViller
  • Sean Hosein
  • Ty Lacy
  • DeViller
  • Hosein
4:24
11."Heart of Innocence"
  • Simpson
  • Gary Baker
  • Frank Joseph Meyers
  • Paula Carpenter
  • Biancaniello
  • Watters
4:55
Sweet Kisses — Japanese edition (bonus track)
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
12."Did You Ever Love Somebody"
  • Marsha Malamet
  • Liz Vidal
  • Sturken
  • Rogers
3:54
Sweet Kisses — UK edition (bonus tracks)
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
13."I Can, I Will"
  • Houston
  • Nevil
  • Houston
  • Nevil
4:28
14."You Don't Know What Love Is"
  • Sturken
  • Rogers
  • Sturken
  • Rogers
4:21

Sample credits

"I Think I'm in Love with You" contains a sample of "Jack & Diane", written and performed by John Cougar Mellencamp. [21]

Personnel

Production

  • Producers: Louis Biancaniello, Dave Deviller, Andy Goldmark, Dan Shea, Jamie Houston, London Jones, Robbie Nevil, Evan Rogers, Corey Rooney, Carl Sturken, Sam Watters, Eric Foster White
  • Engineers: Steve George, Andy Goldmark, Scott Gutierrez, Al Hemberger, Ben Holt, Martin Horenburg, Hank Linderman, Glen Marchese, Tim "Flash" Mariner, Michael "Wolf" Reaves, Steve Smith, Paul Wagner, Eric Foster White, Rob Williams
  • Assistant engineers: Jeff Gregory, Matt Martiensson, Ronnie Rivera, Jose Sanchez, Manelich Sotolong
  • Mixing: Mick Guzauski, Tony Maserati
  • Mixing assistants: Tom Bender, Jeff Gregory, Ben Holt, Ethan Schofer
  • Editing: Jack Kugell
  • Production coordination: Kim Gorham, Collen Reynolds
  • Production coordination assistant: Andrea Derby
  • Programming: Louis Biancaniello, Dan Shea, Dave Deviller, London Jones, Eric Foster White
  • Drum programming: Iki Levy
  • Arranger: Dave Deviller
  • String arrangements: Graeme Coleman
  • Art direction: Ron Jaramillo
  • Design: Ron Jaramillo
  • Photography: Alberto Tolot
  • Stylist: Rachel Zoe
  • Hair stylist: Ken Paves
  • Make-up: Francesca Tolot

Charts

Certifications

RegionCertification Certified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada) [36] Platinum100,000^
Norway (IFPI Norway) [37] Gold25,000*
Japan (RIAJ) [38] Gold100,000^
United States (RIAA) [39] 2× Platinum2,000,000^
Summaries
Worldwide4,000,000 [40]

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

Release history

RegionDateFormatLabelCatalogRef.
AustraliaNovember 23, 1999 CD Sony Music 4953642 [41]
CanadaCK 69096 [42]
Europe4949332 [7]
United States Columbia CK 69096 [43]
JapanJanuary 19, 2000Sony MusicSRCS 2126 [6] [44]

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