Ashley Tisdale
Guilty Pleasure


2.0
poor

Review

by Rudy K. STAFF
July 28th, 2009 | 42 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Guilty Pleasure comes off like a NOW Music compilation of Modern Female Pop Stars that left me deadened to sugary melodies and convinced that radical, riotous teenage behavior includes parking my car in the driveway sideways and getting speeding tickets.

Let me be honest: I love guilty pleasures of all kinds. What is life, anyways, without those few things that, for all their imperfections and the general scorn thrown at them by humanity, can provide the kind of cheap, palatable entertainment I thrive on? Not everyone can be an immaculate elitist 24/7, save for New Yorker critics and Pitchfork enthusiasts. It’s why I keep coming back to food like deep-fried Oreos, why I watch trashy reality shows and hilarious horror movies, and the reason I treasure Paris Hilton’s debut album.

Suffice to say, I could barely contain my excitement when High School Musical star and Disney spawn Ashley Tisdale announced Guilty Pleasure. Vanilla child actor finally blossoming into womanhood and declaring rebellion? Check. 100% disposable, radio-ready pop with mind-numbing hooks and no social merit whatsoever? Check. Ambiguously sexy, “dark” album cover with a newly brunette Tisdale (brown is so anti-establishment!)? Check!

Alas, my love affair with Ashley was short-lived. Guilty Pleasure is, indeed, guilty of many things, most obviously taking a grab bag of the most popular female stars in the game today, tossing it into a blender, and adding some half-baked lyrics for good measure. Opener “Acting Out” starts off with some seriously pompous strings before Ashley comes in with lyrics that rival Miley Cyrus’ 2008 Breakout: “up above the surface / I was just a perfect child / but underneath it all, I was craving to be wild.” The hooks come hard and fast, and Tisdale’s vocals contain just the perfect note of frantic urgency to sell enticing lyrics like “this is what I need, it’s time to get dirty.”

But the promised “dirty” never really materializes, and throughout Guilty Pleasure, Tisdale comes off as just another teenybopper when she should be acting her age (24, believe it or not). First single “It’s Alright, It’s OK” pounds along stereo-bursting power-chords and an exploding chorus * la Kelly Clarkson while Tisdale rails against an ex, a common theme here. “Masquerade” takes a page from the Miley Cyrus playbook with rapid-fire rhyming verses along a slinking guitar line before blowing up into another hook-filled sing-a-long. See a pattern here?

The biggest problem with the album is, while Tisdale is a more than capable imitator, the constant pastiche of styles fails to deliver a style of her own. Songs like “Overrated” or “Tell Me Lies” are bland pieces of pop punk that could be filler on any pop album in the last decade. “Me Without You” is a bombastic ballad that sounds unbearably syrupy without the voice of an Aguilera. “Crank It Up” is a deliriously catchy club jam in the Blackout-era Britney mold, and that’s exactly what it sounds like: a Britney B-side. The calculated faux-punk of “Hot Mess” mimics Katy Perry (lyrics like “I’m getting speeding tickets / I’m acting just like a misfit” rank up there with the Sex Pistols’ best), the boyfriend-stomping rock of “Delete You” calls to mind Ashlee Simpson, and the ghost of Kelly Clarkson’s relentless power-pop production and mammoth hooks lingers over everything. It’s catchy, but it lacks that X-factor that makes certain pop music so damn addicting.

For all its sameness and utter lack of character, Guilty Pleasure does, at times, live up to its name; it’s the low points, however, that keep it from attaining junk-pop glory. The embarrassingly serious “How Do You Love Someone?” drowns in its own self-awareness and cringe-inducing lyrics about the effects of bad parenting. A perfectly bouncy song like “Hair” wastes itself on trivial subject matter that would put Miley to shame. And the cheese factor on “What If” is almost unbearably high, something only worsened by its high-school journal lyrics.

Please, Ashley, if you do record another album, get some new writers. The lyrics throughout are some of the worst (yet unintentionally hilarious!) in recent memory: “they told me I’d never survive / but survival’s my middle name;” “this beat is hypnotic / I wanna ride it like a chauffeur / sound of the sonic’s controlling me just like a robot;” “you’re wicked bad / and I like the way that you do it baby.” Do yourself a favor and check some of these out – there are some real hidden gems.

Fourteen songs is too long for any pop album not by Taylor Swift, and Guilty Pleasure comes off like a NOW Music compilation of Modern Female Pop Stars that left me deadened to sugary melodies and convinced that radical, riotous teenage behavior includes parking my car in the driveway sideways and getting speeding tickets. The choruses are on the money, the hooks are undeniable, Tisdale has enough vocal sass to get by, yet throughout there’s something missing – her odd decision to separate herself from the pack by sounding just like the pack. A guilty listen, most definitely. A pleasure? Hardly.



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user ratings (18)
Chart.
3
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
klap
Staff Reviewer
July 28th 2009


10583 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

bonus points for awesomely ridiculous lyrics

Digging: Charli XCX - Sucker

cvlts
July 28th 2009


8985 Comments


bitch is hot as f*ck though

Meatplow
July 28th 2009


5524 Comments


I liked this more then you.

Spare
July 28th 2009


5449 Comments


yeah i'd still sex it

Digging: Forth Wanderers - Tough Love

KTV
July 28th 2009


760 Comments


this album sure is a guilty pleasure


ba-dum-tch

AtavanHalen
July 28th 2009


17927 Comments


“up above the surface / I was just a perfect child / but underneath it all, I was craving to be wild.”

I seriously just came

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
July 28th 2009


20858 Comments


“this beat is hypnotic / I wanna ride it like a chauffeur / sound of the sonic’s controlling me just like a robot;”

I seriously just threw up.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
July 28th 2009


20858 Comments


Actually, in all honest Rudy, this is a fantastic review & deserving of a pos. The first 3 paragraphs are simply gold.

Of course, I still have no clue whatsoever who this little girl is, but that's besides the point.

AtavanHalen
July 28th 2009


17927 Comments


Jailllllllllllllllllllllbait

BallsToTheWall
July 28th 2009


44805 Comments


Good review/hot chick but the bitch shouldnt sing.

Digging: Pink Turns Blue - If Two Worlds Kiss

Knott-
Emeritus
July 28th 2009


10198 Comments


Fourteen songs is too long for any pop album not by Taylor Swift


so true

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
July 28th 2009


8391 Comments


awesome review man, and you really, have becaome sputnik's resident pop reviewer. Keep it up!

TREO5
July 28th 2009


1071 Comments


Id give it 5/5 just cause she has a song called me without you.

klap
Staff Reviewer
July 28th 2009


10583 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

strikey, no joke i was thinking of you when i slid that in there

Waior
July 28th 2009


11461 Comments


Such a great review.

Knott-
Emeritus
July 28th 2009


10198 Comments


Hahaha sweet dude.

I love the summary of this review. I remember NOW 42!

klap
Staff Reviewer
July 28th 2009


10583 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

you know, at 24, she really can't be considered jailbait

thanks for all the pos'!

ScorpionStan
July 28th 2009


1834 Comments


great review...this is trash.

mvdu
July 28th 2009


612 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

I surprisingly enjoy this CD. It IS disposable, but somehow I just can't help moving to these beats. And for me, it's the definition of a guilty pleasure. The marketing isn't a problem with the CD - just how it is presented to the public. Rather than more trashy or showing a different direction, this is just bubblegum that appeals to adult audiences more than her previous CD did.

ConorMichaelJoseph
July 28th 2009


1870 Comments


I'd pleasure her and not feel a bit guilty about it.



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