Sunday, August 23, 2009

Guilty Pleasure - Ashley Tisdale

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If Ashley Tisdale's 2007 debut, Headstrong, was exactly what you would expect from a Disney-pushed pop act then this follow up perhaps deserves to be tarnished with the same brush.

Yes, Tisdale is now attempting to prove that she's "grown up" (which shouldn't be difficult considering she's 23 now) and this introduces itself as the kind of lame "power pop" that gives, well, pop music a bad name.

As ever with these kind of things there are a couple of songs that are at least catchy and relatively memorable. Masquerade chugs along pleasantly enough with it's rock riffs and Hair is the kind of upbeat, but slightly odd, pop song that should be a big hit even if it's lyrical content (young Ashley seems to love how her boyfriend twirls her hair) is more suited to the 12 year old girls that this album is presumably targeted at than it is to me.

Of course where the album really falls down is the ballads; other than the slightly brave How Do You Love Someone - which may be a terrible song but at least has the guts to tackle something different lyrically (divorce) the rest just sail by on a stream of dullness.

And that's the crux of the matter; Tisdale has gone to great lengths to "grow up" but the whole product is unable to shake that "corporate" stench. Co-writes from Kara DioGuardi (Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood), Toby Gad (Beyonce, Fergie) and Diane Warren (erm, well just about everyone) simply highlight the desperation to hit the charts and the whole thing is completely devoid of any distinctiveness or imagination.

Last time around I said there Tisdale had a smattering of songs that could be hits in the right hands but that there was no evidence, as a whole, that Tisdale was that right vehicle. Her role in High School Musical might work in the short-term, but in the long-term it seems like I was right first time around.

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