Thursday, June 11, 2009
Teenpop antiquarian enjoys company of Swedes.
An album for Ashley's first nose?
So the thing about this new Ashley Tisdale album, which I've heard piecemeal about 1/2x so far, kind of shooting from the hip here, is that it hearkens back to a time when teenyboppers were secreted away to Sweden to cut a pure-pop sugar staple on the DL, only to take the world by storm and everyone's like...uh, where the hell did this come from? Well, from guys with two S's in their last name -- Persson, Larsson -- and first names with umlauts. [EDIT: I am reliably informed that Persson is in part responsible for many of Ashley's best tracks on her first alb, including "Not Like That," h/t Frank.]
Thing is, we know where Ashley came from, and that era is kind of dead. So here's Ashley Tisdale, that Girl Wot Played the Bitch in HSM, with an album that a second-to-third-tier no-name teenybopper might have cut (and sounded slightly out-of-date) c. 2004-2005, and it's standing alone, the spotlight shining on it in an uncomfortable sorta way. This album was meant to be bundled with "A" albums in shopping mall giveaways or something -- as a purportedly "A" release itself, it flounders a bit.
And yet I'm a sucker for a lot of this cheeze. She does the Kelly C. sellout moves more squeakily than Kelly does ("Erase and Rewind," "Masquerade"), does Vanessa Hudgens style fake-dance in the "Sneakernight" mode ("Crank It Up") like the Kidz Bop version of the Timbaland album. Even the ballads are terrible! Man, nostalgia. Hell, she even slightly taps into my The-Dream luv by providing an answer track of sorts in "Hair" -- "I like what you do to my hair." And this isn't an idle linkage -- Demi Lovato wants to work with The-Dream; Taylor Swift wants to work with T-Pain. The ground is shifting, folks.
Which means that this thing is a veritable relic, of someone in 2005 pretending it was 2001. Perhaps this is the Cheiron flipside to bits of Skye's Matrix album, which included some identically positioned awkward retro pop, in the form of demos that Matrix never got off the ground in 2004 (that, at the time, were trying to sound recent-past retro themselves). So yeah, it's kind of interesting. But is it good? Uh...y'know, about as good as any of those second-to-third tier efforts can be. A roughly 30-60-10 ratio of "good/competent/bad," and so many of these songs run together it's almost useless trying to parse it as anything other than an occasionally enjoyable crystallized sugar blob. (Even the DioGuardi co-penned anthem, "What If," sounds nostalgically generic, though it's still a bit of a highlight.) At the very least I can't wait to buy a one-penny (plus shipping) online copy in three months as the imminent over-pressing of the CD goes "E.T. Atari Game" and starts cluttering up a few used bins.
Posted by Dave at 6:28 AM