Friday, September 22, 2006

Paris Is Calling

Courage is admitting to the world that I bought…

(dramatic pause)

…Paris Hilton’s album!

(Insert gasps, snickers, hoots or—dare I assume?—applause here, whichever matches your reaction.)

Okay, you done already? Good.

Foolishness is coming up with a review of it.

Okay, let’s think of this as an intellectual exercise. (God, I can’t believe I used the words “Paris Hilton” and “intellectual exercise” in the same entry.) So here goes.

* * * * *

Paris Hilton is one of those celebrities whose popularity is based more on ubiquitous media presence than talent. Right now she’s gained enough popularity—or notoriety, depending on who you’re talking to—to be considered as an “it girl” (lower case intentional) of the moment. But the clock is ticking rapidly. So what’s a girl like Paris to do?

Someone must have told her, “It ain’t over ‘til the rich bitch sings.” Paris, her self-titled debut, is a minor triumph of production, canny choice of material, and slick marketing. Welcome the vacuum-packed Paris Hilton! This album is supposed to transform her into a recording star. But listen closely to the album, and you’ll know right away that the real stars here are the producers and the songs—Paris is just the voice they hired to sing them. Did I say sing? There’s no way of knowing that. Before listening to the album I was wondering what kind of act Paris will follow. Will she be like Paula Abdul—not too talented singer, but with songs that have excellent production values? Midway through the album I was wondering if she’s more like Milli Vanilli—is she just a great pretender?

But back to the songs: there’s one for any demographic and genre. There’s the reggae-infused first single, “Stars Are Blind.” There are two funky-lites that’s reminiscent of early Britney, “Turn It Up” and “Turn You On”, complete with breathless delivery and come-hither lyrics like “don’t get so excited / cuz I might turn you on.” Want to hit the pop princess market? “Nothing In This World” mimics early Hillary Duff or Lindsay Lohan. For the rednecks, there’s the Western-infused “Not Leaving With Out You” complete with slide guitar—how very Shania Twain. How about going urban? “Fighting Over Me” features Jadakiss & Fat Joe. And then there’s “Screwed,” a guitar-pop-dance track that sounds very Roxette, all the way to the catchy sing-along chorus.

And they even manage a surprise for the older generation. In a strange case of marketing reversal, she has one song that’s targeted to an older audience. “I Want You” samples horns from “Grease” sung by Frankie Valli; people of my generation will get a kick out of it. Unfortunately the song is disappointingly flat; after the first giddy rush of excitement, the song fails to build up and just limply flatlines towards the end.

Oh and she also sings two ballads.

For me the biggest misstep is her remake of Rod Stewart’s “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy.” There her vocal limitations are laid bare. The song’s true power lies in Rod’s gruff, teasing, spirited vocals. In contrast Paris’ breathless delivery lacks oomph; she sounds like she’s simpering. The song looses steam pretty fast.

Of course it’s possible that her youthful minions have no idea at all of Rod’s original version, and so they’re thinking, “What a cool song! It so fits her!” Maybe the best way to appreciate Paris is to listen to it in a vacuum. How fitting.

I'm not surprised you got Ms Hilton's debut album. I sorta sensed a hint that you liked what you heard a couple of posts ago.

Now I'm curious. Maybe should get a CD too....
NELZ: Hey, be warned--her album is pure pop-fluff. No angst, no deep insights, just pure fun, fun, fluff. :-)
i don't care what paris has on that album.

i am now a bit of an airhead due to so much stress.

how was it mcvie? will it relax me? was it britney like?

(ay day, i love britney!)

well, i have nothing against paris. if she can do it, she can do it. BECAUSE SHE CAN!

hehehe..miss your blog :)

enjoy ur CD

enjoy life

have fun!

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