She may have recorded this album for Warner Brothers, but the second album from singer/actress Ashley Tisdale sounds as if it came off the Disney pop assembly line. There is nothing particularly bad about the sound, but it seems like we've heard much of it before with more unique character from Miley Cyrus. There are a few songs here of more than passing interest, but if Ashley Tisdale is to advance as an artist she will need to scrape her way beyond the polish and production to find the singer within.
Nothing Here You Haven't Heard
As you listen to the tracks on Guilty Pleasure, it is not likely you will uncover a true guilty pleasure. Those usually are songs with something so unique they catch your ear even if others see them as odd or of questionable artistic integrity. Everything here is far too familiar. Fortunately, Ashley Tisdale's trademark energy as a singer is fully intact, but you've heard the somewhat shouty, buffed, amped up pop before. Even the much touted "edgy" song "Hot Mess" about the exhilaration of hanging out with a biker boy is tame enough for the typical nine year old. "What If" wants to evolve into an Avril Lavigne power ballad but ultimately drowns in too many lyrical "babys" and polished string-based crescendos.
Things Get Interesting In the End on 'Guilty Pleasure'
Things do finally get a little more interesting toward the end of Guilty Pleasure. "Hair" is a lyrically clever little ditty set to a Katy Perry style martial beat. Hair may not seem the most likely pop song concept, but this song does capture something of the sensual capacity of hair in the middle of a relationship. "Delete You" is a "Before He Cheats" fantasy for pre-teens. Beneath the gloss there are musical flashes of the street and garage bands. Finally, the ballad "Me Without You" sounds honest and is not over-sung or over-produced.
Top Tracks on 'Guilty Pleasure'
- "It's Alright, It's OK"
- "Delete You"
- "Me Without You"
Artistic Holding Pattern for Ashley Tisdale
Guilty Pleasure is far from a disaster, but it ultimately amounts to simply a holding pattern for Ashley Tisdale. She has stated she hoped the album would show more of her edgy side. However, this music is simply too polished to show off any sharp edges. The current niche she is trying to occupy is already far too crowded. Digging a little deeper could result in an Ashley Tisdale we could pick out of the crowd.
Released July 2009 by Warner Bros.