Review Summary: The High School Musical starlet is back with her sophomore album. Surprisingly, she, or more likely her songwriters, actual display some real sensibility with a number of catchy dance tunes.
aimed directly at her tween fans, this attempts to nail true teens, and as a 19-year-old the progression makes sense. Unfortunately, after last years pornographic foray into scandal she stays far enough from the risqué to really lose any tweens. So while she turns on the dance beats and sings of how love hurts like a paper cut / so sweet / never even feel the slice / you’re so deep
, she really isn’t developing or maturing in a way that will invite a new audience. Borrowing from Gwen Stefani, Christina Aguilera, Fergie, and Nelly Furtado, her emulation is also flawed, and the result is a little tasteless.
Examples of such weakness include the title track; on it Hudgens creates a electro-pop club jam that is undeniably catchy. Unfortunately, her voice is malleable enough, but the lyrics are just bland. Repetition is a useful literary element, but the way Hudgens uses it is criminal. “Don’t Ask Why” is an apologetic song, one that is a small success, yet her voice is gallingly lean, and it’s hard to get past that. V
went down in an amateur manner as a result of it, and this album tries to dodge that through digital manipulation and elaboration. However, that can be as annoying as an untamed voice, and the album suffers because of it. “Party On the Moon” may try to make it feel organic with some sort of astronaut theme, but to me it is as sickening as music gets. “Sneakernight” is catchy enough to serve as her first tremulous single, but tasteless melodies and a sketchy voice really sink it. (not to mention lines like so are you ready? / did you eat? / do you have the energy?
On a more positive note however, opener “Last Night” is a great R&B number featuring slide guitar and a catchy refrain. “Hook It Up” also delivers, as catchy as her contemporaries’ singles such as Miley Cyrus’ “See You Again”. The lyrics are predictably idiotic like you got the money money / she’s got the hottie body
and i’ll hook you up with my friends / i’ll hook you up with her friends
, but it’s really a fine pop song, musically at least. Likewise “Did It Ever Cross Your Mind” serves as a valid pop hit, although android-Hutchens is particularly evident. Even “Don’t Leave” is pseudo-dynamic, as affecting as an Alicia Keys ballad. “Gone With the Wind” puts a slightly jazzy spin on things, and as the closer could be a slightly promising sign of things to come. Her voice sounds pretty ok, and the result is a really tight tune.
If you’re like me, mainstream pop music can only do so much for you, and this isn’t anything above average. On top of that, soulful melodies and tones combined with chatter about sneaker-dancing is also a turnoff. So while there are several tracks I’ll steal for a playlist performance in my closet, as an honest critic I can’t justifiably exalt this. At the same time over half of this record is extraordinarily catchy, and if you are into mainstream pop, this could be the sex you’re looking for. Personally, this record can only hit me so deeply, and the immaturity is pretty repulsive. Probably the cutest teen automaton I’ve ever seen, I’d prefer her to switch focus back to the film and image industry.