Review Snapshot: Self-styled new era icon and soon-to-be-more-minted hotel heiress throws money at a childhood fantasy, hires decent producers and produces an album that the money men will love and everyone else will just go ‘nyeh’ to.
The Cluas Verdict: 6.5 out of 10.
Within the first nine seconds of her eponymous debut (God help us, is she planning more?), Paris Hilton moans, groans a ‘yeah’, drops a clich? ‘that’s hot’ and blathers a shout-out to her producer. Immediately the panic alarms sound. Surely a genuine artist wouldn’t indulge every hip-hop stereotype within the first ten seconds of their recording career? Such is Hilton’s telling choice. What follows in the next forty minutes is – gulp – really not all that bad though.
Hilton’s music career is very obviously an vanity project; the fantasised birthday present of any Hollywood teen ?erprincess, but because she’s basically minted beyond belief, she can buy the best talent that non-dirty money can buy. The result is a mixed bag; a conclusion that while you might need some talent to put an album together, the reality is that anyone can make a good collection if they’ve enough money to rent enough expertise.
Opener “Turn It Up” is, aside from the aforementioned 10-second cringe-o-rama, a reasonable offering. Big league knob-twiddler Scott Storch (of 50 Cent and Beyonc? works his magic and interweaves some cheerleader vocals into an RnB grunk that genuinely fits with an archetypical midweek night out. The following “Fightin’ Over Me”, while cringey in the extreme with blatant renting of ego diesel in Jadakiss and Fat Joe, is a memorable lump too. Again Storch does his job to perfection, keeping a drum ‘n’ piano roll to perfect impact while Paris does little more than whisper about how lads fight over her because “I’m hot to death and so, so, so sexy.” Moving on.
“Stars Are Blind”, the lead single, sounds like a Fatboy Slim remix of a UB40 back catalogue. Hilton’s “kittenish” (copyright, her media people – perhaps ‘fragile’ would be a better reading) vocals are used only on backing aaaahs while a surprisingly more accomplished and wholesome voice shines through on main lyrical duties. You can’t help but chuckle at “I can make it nice and naughty“, says she who’s known to half the Western world for being in an internet sex video as much as for being a TV star or model.
Rattling onwards, Jonathan Rotem (Rhianna) engineers excellent string samples and a song-making siren into the likeable and impedingly radio-friendly “I Want You”. “Jealousy”, meanwhile, has a baffling string intro before launching into a bitchfest against on/off TV partner and best pal Nicole Richie who is “no longer the girl I once knew” and who will “never walk a day in my shoes“, before finishing with a vocalised where-did-it-all-go-wrong olive branch. For a song to do with ego problems, though, it’s a genuine case of stone-throwing by people in glasshouses.
“Heartbeat” is a short, minimalist ode to? whoever she’s currently going out with. The idea is that she can feel the other half of her heartbeat lying there with her. “The way you do me”, though, is probably enough to prompt a fast-forward. “Nothing In This World” was undoubtedly written for Kelly Clarkson – and lo and behold, was written by the same Dr Luke who penned “Since You’ve Been Gone”. The result, inevitably, is upbeat lite-band material that has still been tailored to pack an egotistical punch (“I can do what she can do so much better“). “Screwed” follows in the same rocky mould, Hilton delivering something sounding like a Pink/Steps duet.
“Not Leaving Without You” does exactly what it says on the tin and isn’t much to talk about, other than to note that the RnB openings of the album seem completely lost in the flow of more listenable disco rock. “Turn You On” that follows then seems remarkably out of place as a return to the earlier stuff that pumps self-image as much as a dancefloor. If only, if only, she hadn’t finished by tearing apart Rod Stewart’s “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?” with kittenish (except this time read ‘crap’) vocals and left it dripping with ego juice. Arrrrrgh! It might be a recommendable album if it didn’t leave such a rancid aftertaste. Close, but no post-coital cigar.