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Simpson’s ‘Public Affair’ should stay private

Courtney Wilson | Thursday, September 7, 2006

Some may love Jessica for her charm, her humor, or (for guys) her sex appeal, but let’s face it, regardless of her celebrity, Jessica Simpson has never been known for her singing talent. Before the three- season run of ‘Newlyweds’ – the reality show that publicized her marriage – the singer demonstrated poor record sales. Until 2003, the ditzy blonde was far overshadowed by more popular singers like Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera.

‘A Public Affair’ is her first album since the split from former hubby Nick Lachey. Lachey has recently come out with ‘What’s Left of Me,’ a compilation of cooing songs that whine over the former couple’s divorce. But unlike Lachey, who has chosen to cry his way to the top of the pop charts, Simpson leaves the subject nearly untouched.

It’s a showcase of 80s inspired songs, which have generously been compared by some critics to an early Madonna. “A Public Affair,” the first single to hit radio waves, takes no shame in its “Lucky Star” inspiration. For the video, Simpson and her girls (Christina Applegate, Christina Milian and Eva Longoria) are clad in classic 80s wear – fluorescent leggings, jumpsuits and glitter – at a local rollerskating rink. The song is purely sticky-fingered bubblegum-pop with its carefree ready to “rock cause the party don’t stop” lyrics.

“You Spin Me Around (Like A Record),” arguably the best song on the album, is a cover of an old “Dead or Alive” song. Just like with last year’s hit song “These Boots Are Made for Walking,” Simpson proves that her greatest skill is at remaking already well-liked tunes.

Although the album starts off well, it loses steam as it progresses. “Push Your Tush” proves that Simpson can’t seem to shake the character, Daisy Duke, who she portrayed in “Dukes of Hazzard.” The persistent “Cock-a-doodle-doo!” chorus and her ditzy laughter are both earaches.

“I Belong to Me,” the upcoming radio release, was voted the best single on the album by a number of Simpson fans on her official Web site. Purchasers may feel cheated, however, since the song only appears as an exclusive only available on the CDs purchased at Wal-Mart locations.

Having Jessica Simpson co-write a whopping eight songs was probably the first mistake in creating this album. It is an entire CD of generic ballads and uninsprired pop songs with very little lyrical merit. And while the majority of Simpson’s listeners are likely to be young, easily entertained teenyboppers, the remaining fans will be left in complete boredom.

Despite help from top pop producers Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis and an even more notorious Scott Storch (responsible for Paris Hilton’s debut album), Simpson fails to create a pop album that is better than mediocre, forgettable fluff.

Despite the fact that this is her fourth album, Simpson hardly makes an attempt to promote herself as a talented and qualified singer.

“A Public Affair” is largely a mix of songs simply thrown together to make a less than average album. It’s hardly Simpson’s best singing – and a sad attempt for an established celebrity.

Always a tabloid favorite, Simpson’s bubbly persona remains enough to overshadow an incredibly disappointing music career. Simpson can expect to reach platinum with this album, as sales will likely be based on her celebrity rather than on the album’s actual quality.

Unfortunately, the best that anyone can hope to take away from the disc is a few average tunes for some late-night karaoke. Save the $15 dollars and splurge on Paris Hilton’s CD instead.