By Gregory Hicks, Daily Arts Writer
Published March 11, 2012
It doesn’t surprise me in the slightest that so many albums go unnoticed when they come from a Disney artist. Perhaps it’s the nothing-but-serious, not-immature-in-any-way-at-all album titles like Can’t Be Tamed or Guilty Pleasure that really do it for music shoppers at a glance. Or maybe it’s the general attitude that Disney kiddies are just spoiled brats who get whatever they want — in these cases, a record deal.
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But I’m sure most of us would agree that the world wouldn’t be a better place without Hilary Duff’s Metamorphosis, which to this day — almost 10 years later — isn’t considered “So Yesterday.”
So stop thinking so hard about the politics of it all, and check out these albums with your ears, not your eyes.
Jesse McCartney — Right Where You Want Me
Jesse McCartney, this musical style is right where I want you. Regardless of what his other albums lead one to believe, McCartney was born to be a pop-rock singer. All of the album’s tracks are composed of little more than voice, guitar and drums.
This combination of rock and pop gives McCartney an automatic maturity boost without having to sacrifice his radio-friendly quality — let’s not forget that “pop” stands for popular. In fact, you’re probably more familiar with the song “Right Where You Want Me” than you think.
The second-most-notable track, “Anybody,” might also strike some familiarity. This song and a few others were written and produced by hit songwriter Kara DioGuardi, who — as you might recall — became despised on multiple levels merely for existing as a judge on “American Idol.”
Unfortunately, with his follow-up album, Departure, McCartney jumped onto the R&B bandwagon which all male artists seem to ride nowadays, in an attempt to sound as indistinguishable from Justin Timberlake as possible.
Ashley Tisdale — Guilty Pleasure
And I repeat — not surprised this album wasn’t even given a first thought. From the risqué title and cover art to the rebellious lead single “Acting Out,” I can’t help but feel that Ashley Tisdale and her record label were trying to make it as difficult as possible to purchase this album.
But if you manage to survive through the first single — which attempts rebellion at a point that lies somewhere on a scale ranging from zero to Disney — you will discover why listening to this album is my guilty pleasure.
The majority of the tracks are effective in terms of getting the adrenaline flowing. “It’s All Right, It’s Okay” and “Overrated” are pretty classic spirit lifters for the brokenhearted.
The song “Masquerade,” without a doubt, stands out the most on the album. It’s another high-energy song, but with a touch of mystery that isn’t immediately comparable to any other artist’s work.
While “Masquerade” is the stylistic masterpiece of the album, “What If” has an unbelievably original melody. As much as I adore her, this song deserves better than being on an Ashley Tisdale album. And sure enough, it was written by everyone’s favorite TV personality, Kara DioGuardi.
Evidently, Alaina Beaton thought the song she wrote on Tisdale’s album, “How Do You Love Someone?” was also too good for it, because Beaton herself is re-releasing the song under her own stage name Porcelain Black. The track will possibly feature Eminem.
Joe Jonas — Fastlife
I give Joe Jonas and the person managing his career a lot of praise for how they handled this album. Unlike albums like Guilty Pleasure, on which the absolute minimum effort was put in to promote the project to a general audience, a lot of work went into giving Jonas a serious career.
When production of the album first began, Jonas collaborated with the incredible Danja, notable for his work on Britney Spears’s Blackout, which was named one of the most influential pop albums of the last decade.