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Album review: Ashley Tisdale's 'Guilty Pleasure'

Tisdale_240 At age 24, Ashley Tisdale is the elder of the "High School Musical" tribe that includes Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens. On her second album, "Guilty Pleasure," the now-brunet wants to forge her adulthood, but what she's crafted is a glob of uninspired pop-rock that aspires to be Pink but is really something paler.

The problem might lie with Tisdale's chosen path of independence; the showbiz prodigy now fancies herself a bad girl. That takes more fortitude than can be mustered by this wan batch of songs co-produced and written (with Tisdale's contributions) with an all-star team that includes Kara DioGuardi and Toby Gad. They don't seem to have gifted Tisdale with their best work.

On "Hot Mess," which begins with some promising Andy Summers-style guitar, Tisdale claims to have no inhibitions, but the song's self-conscious attempts to whip up a frenzy of naughtiness prove otherwise. "I'm getting speed tickets; I'm acting just like a misfit; I'm letting my mail pile up to the ceiling."

At another point, she sings, "you wake up in your bra and makeup" as if it's a scandal that'll blow apart her locked diary. Hey, maybe the same thing has happened to Condoleezza Rice after a hard day's night of nailing a Rachmaninoff sonata.

"How Do You Love Someone" could have been an affecting portrait of broken marriage from a child's perspective -- surely a rich topic for Gen-Y kids hit by climbing divorce rates -- but it takes the easy way out with cringe-inducing stereotypes.

There are a few glimmers of hope; Tisdale has said her heroes are Pat Benatar and Kelly Clarkson. But to succeed in the crowded hallways of teen pop, she'll have to be as fearless a misfit as those two bad girls -- and not feel guilty about it in the morning.

-- Margaret Wappler

Ashley Tisdale
"Guilty Pleasure"
Warner Bros.
One and a half stars
Comments () | Archives (8)

OK, first of all, this album is the best to come out in years. What gives you the right to slam this album? are you jealous? you're just one person so you expect people to follow your opinion? well, no one cares, this review is obviously biased because you would review songs that you like better than songs or genres you don't like. Here is a tip, if you actually know how to do your job, when reviewing an album you review it based on it's individual outlook, not compare it to other albums, because that's just dumb.

I agree.

This comment is in response to the previous comment made by "Ashley Fan". First, what actually gives the reviewer, Margaret Wappler, the "right" to slam this album is two things: 1)the first ammendment of the US Constitution, which is the foundation for the remainder of the Bill of Rights (i.e., the first ten ammendments of the U.S. Constitution), and 2)it's her job. Allow me to clarify. This is a public site/forum, as are most websites accessed by the public (go figure, huh?). Thus, on a public forum, individuals are allowed to express their personal opinions, especially if the public forum utilized is either owned by or part of the job of the said individual. Also, Ms. Wappler is a professional reviewer. This means that it is her full-time job (thus the "professional" aspect) to analytically review certain things, in this case new albums of North American musicians and vocalists. In an analytical review, it is customary to point out the strengths and weaknesses of the product under review. While you can argue as to her success in this undertaking, but you cannot deprive her of her opinion (it's against the law, though I'm not sure if you're actually trying to deprive her of this right).

Second, Ms. Wappler does not expect anyone to care about her personal opinion. Like you and I both said, reviewing this album was part of her job, not a hobby or an acted-out jealousy against Ashley Tisdale.

Third, your fifth sentence (or semblance thereof) doesn't even make sense! How is Ms. Wappler biased "because [she] would review songs that [she] like[d] better than songs or genres she [doesn't] like"? Logically, then, anyone who reads your statement would have to conclude that Ms. Wappler, in fact, does like Ashley Tisdale's new album, contrary to her review and subsequent rating. So, according to your phraseology, she actually does like the album. Was this a mis-type?

Fourth, the details of a music reviewer's job is to (shockingly) review it based on its outlook, and, when directly relevant, compare it to other genres and artists in the same or similar musical categories. The outlook of an album is part of its content (I'm not even going to address the vague nature of your term "individual outlook"); if a reviewer cannot or should not critique an album based on its outlook or anything else dealing with its content, what is there to review? Further, what is there to even listen to?! A content-less album, lacking an individual outlook, is boring: it has no content, and thus is not truly an album (i.e., it does not exist, for if it lacks content, it lacks the substance that indicates it exists). Likewise, Ashley Tisdale has often stated that her music has been and still is highly influenced by Kelly Clarkson, Pat Benatar, and other vocalists; after listening to Tisdale's 'Guilty Pleasure', the observant listener can detect some of the influences from and imitation of some of these other musicians. Thus, it is completely relevant to compare Tisdale's "new" sound with that of her musical mentors.

Finally, contrary to your origianl assertion that no cares about Margaret Wappler's opinion, at least two people obviously do: you and me. You cared enough to write some sort of comment in response to what you apparently took as a personal affront, rather than just a critique of a new musical product. I cared enough to read her review (though there were some things Ms. Wappler said that I somewhat disagree with, having listened to Ashley Tisdale's new album myself), but I cared more about the legitimacy and right of Ms. Wappler to express her opinion, so I responded to your comment. You have the right to hold and express your personal opinion, as do Ms. Wappler and myself. You do not have the right, however, to attempt, even in passing, to deprive Ms. Wappler of the right to hold and express her opinion; if you do this, you will be trampling on the Constitution. If only the average American took a few minutes to think about an opinion before just opening his or her mouth; maybe we wouldn't be in the kinds of situations we find ourselves in presently, both at home and abroad.

Very well stated Nate. I always find it funny when fanboys and fangirls slam a critic for saying something bad about something they like. The argument always runs along the lines of "Why do you review it if you don't like it?" Well, for two reasons:

1) It's their job

2) Are we not allowed to say anything negative about something we don't like? If we weren't allowed to share our opinions, the world would be full of robotic people who automatically agreed on everything. To a certain extent it already is. I mean, it's bad enough that the majority opinion is almost always accepted as truth, but imagine what it would be like if minority opinions weren't even allowed to be expressed.

I don't know what the fuss is about.
But the writer of this review was pretty hard on Ashley Tisdale.
It's funny how she writes like she knows Ms. Tisdale. Just because it sounds like a personal album, it probably isn't. But Ashley Tisdale is trying to broaden her audience of more serious listeners rather than her previous album talking about having a fun time and all. I think she took a big step and I am glad.

Her single, "It's Alright, It's Okay", is awesome and very relateable.
I hope she doesn't sound like Pink. Pink is awesome, but her lyrics are too explicit and I hope Ms. Tisdale keeps it safe.
So in conclusion, go get the album and one and a half star. Are you serious? Give the girl some props. What did you rate the last album? zero stars??..

Thank you Nate! I feel as if this 13 year old 'Ashley Fan' has a narrow collection of music and is claiming that the writer of this review is slamming on Ashley, but that is really what she is doing to the writer. I have heard the entire album, and I have to say it's premature and not developed. Granted, it is hard to break away from the Disney image once you're sucked into it, but this is far from a breakaway. Apparently, it satisfies the young audience and (I guess) brings money in, which is all she can hope for with this album because she is not evolving into a stronger artist and the music is really not going anywhere. The lyrics are not deep or experimental, they are juvenile and I would expect nothing less (or more) from a Disney starlet.

Listen i am a music education major. i am 19 years old and just got wind of her new album. I know ashley is not the best singer but her alum is very well done. her music breaks her away from that stupid disney mold. how can you compare her to kelly clarkson who has been out for at least 8 years now compared to someone who has been out for little over a year in the music buisness. she needs a little more work yes but for the stage she is at she has done very well

my biggest question is the auto-tune. Is her singing that bad that she can't even sing one phrase without being out of tune? I don't believe it!
A lot of the auto tune is unnecessary what is the company thinking?


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