Blonde on Blonde

Published August 31, 2006

Sorry, Bob. We couldn't resist. Naughty heir Paris Hilton and MTV bubblehead Jessica Simpson also have new albums this month. And although they might not be the voices of their generation, they do have great hair! Plus we totally dig reading about them in People. These two are all about pushing product: hair gel, makeup, magazines, gossip, controversy. Oh, and music, although their new discs deliver so much more.

- SEAN DALY, Times pop music critic



 ALBUM: Paris (Warner Bros.)

GOSSIP GOODIES: On her debut disc, Hilton plays up her amateur-porno past, opening the album with orgiastic oohs and ahhs before burping out the patented catch phrase "That's hot!" Snotty track Jealousy is aimed straight at ex-pal and fellow Simple Life star Nicole Richie ("I was always happy when I was watching you become a star/But you were only happy when the world was openin' up my scars").

MILLI VANILLI FACTOR: Is she really singing? Tough call. Hilton's baby-doll coo is probably in there somewhere, but big-money producers Scott Storch and Jonathan "J.R." Rotem run her voice through so many computers, she sounds like the Sexbot 3000.

READY FOR HER CLOSEUP?: The album art is surprisingly wholesome . . . for Paris. Think Victoria's Secret meets Cinemax.

WHAT'S HOT: First single Stars Are Blind, a pseudo-reggae '80s vamp with a great chorus, is the epitome of guilty pleasure. I Want You (uh, not the Dylan song) is a juicy club banger with siren swirls and a sample from Grease.

WHAT'S NOT: Pretty much everything else. There's a cheesy aroma of "novelty album" throughout most of the disc, like "Weird Al" Yankovic in a thong. A tortured cover of Do Ya Think I'm Sexy somehow restores dignity to faded hack Rod Stewart.



ALBUM: A Public Affair (Epic)

GOSSIP GOODIES: Simpson's post-divorce disc is mostly about what a great time the former Newlywed is having these days - although a cover of the Dixie Chicks' Let Him Fly is aimed straight at ex Nick Lachey ("And there ain't no talkin' to this man, he's been trying to tell me so/It took a while to understand the beauty of just letting go").

MILLI VANILLI FACTOR: Unlike her wacko sis Ashlee, Jessica can actually hold a tune. The problem, however, is that the tune she's holding is often incredibly boring.

READY FOR HER CLOSEUP? Predictably bronzed Simpson looks pretty darn dynamite in the liner notes. In T-shirt and panties, she's going for the just-out-of-bed look, albeit with a great makeup job.

WHAT'S HOT: A funk-disco hybrid called Push Your Tush is fun in a horrific Girls Gone Wild sort of way. Vampy throwback Swing With Me would have been interesting if Christina Aguilera hadn't done the USO thing 10 times better just a few weeks ago.

WHAT'S NOT: First single A Public Affair is a blatant ripoff of Madonna's Holiday - until it turns into a blatant ripoff of Diana Ross' Ain't No Mountain High Enough. A clunky cover of Dead or Alive's You Spin Me Round (Like a Record Player) is a desperate attempt to cash in on the '80s craze. I hate to say it, but Simpson makes Hilton look like a pop genius.