Saturday, October 07, 2006

The many talents of Paris Hilton

I formed an opinion on this record (more or less) over a month ago, but decided to wait until I heard the actual music before writing something up. I figured I owed it to myself to hear the album first, as a matter of intellectual honesty. A lot of reviewers probably didn't give this album that chance, for instance, all the jokes in this review were probably written before the "play" button was pressed.

I don't have much to say about the album that hasn't already been said. It's perfectly passable music. It's a vehicle for the talents of its producer (Scott Storch) far more so than it is for Paris herself, who is the easily-replaceable window dressing of the record. It's compressed as all hell. All the same tricks that are used to sweeten Britney Spears' vocals (and those of a million other singers) are in full effect -- swarming background vocals, double tracking, liberal use of whispering and purring, etc.

Paris' album might represent the apex of the ongoing popism debates. She's the latest in a line of "artists" who made an album for the teen-oriented market, not for any reason in particular but only because she could (Lohan, Duff et al). The debate is only mildly interesting to me, discussions such as this one are notable for confirming everyone's preconceived opinions about Paris than for any truly new criticism (i.e. every "Paris" review in a nutshell, as I already pointed out). Jerry the Nipper's comment stands out though, and I fully agree with it. Tracks like "Turn It Up" come across as silly as Paris implores you to muse about getting down with her and what might happen when her clothes come off -- we already know what happens, we've all seen the famous video, thank you. As JtN states (and I haven't read his complete Uncut review), Paris' wealth is her most noteworthy asset, not her body. A sassy, confident, "like me or not, but I can buy you if I want" Material Girl for the 00's would have made for a far more appealing and unique record.

Still, the most unappealing thing about "Paris" (besides, perhaps, sticking her on a reggae track -- "Stars Are Blind" and releasing it as a single, who could have possibly thought this was a good idea?) is that I'm completely unconvinced that Paris Hilton gives a flying fuck about music. I can't imagine her having a taste in music beyond what her personal assistants buy for her or the songs played in the clubs that her publicists tell her she should be seen at. She released an album because she has the money to hire whoever she wants to write/produce a good record and let her sing along with it. Knowing all these things ruins most of the fun for me. Now hang on, I know the counter-arguments. Lots of people have released superficial novelty/comedy albums just for the money. Still, William Hung cares about music more than Paris Hilton does. Lots of bands hated each others guts, half-assed it in the recording studio, and still implored us to spend money on their product. If those bands were able to harness their full talents on earlier albums, or if I have reason to believe that they'll get their act together on subsequent albums (together or solo) then I have more time for them than I do for Paris Hilton.

Now watch me write something about Charlotte Gainsbourg's new album while completely ignoring everything I wrote in this post ...


Amit said...

what do you think about scarlett johanssen recording an album of tom waits covers ?

Barry said...

Without having heard anything on the album ... yes, let's face it, the only reason this album gets made is because she's Scarlett Johanson, Movie Star. OTOH, if she was purely in it to sell records, there are about 1298234 artists she could have chosen other than Tom Waits. So I assume she's a big fan. I can't really say that Paris Hilton is a big fan of anything, even the reggae songs she hears in the clubs she's paid to attend.