i don't hate 'stars are blind' but 'a fucking fantastic song'? really?
― Bashment Jakes (Enrique), Tuesday, 22 August 2006 12:38 (6 years ago) Permalink
I think the thing about the Paris Hilton baggage is that it's very simple and consistent - esp as opposed to the M Jackson baggage which can contradict and cancel itself (plus he was around before his bulkiest baggage came into existence, so if you want to wilfully ignore it that is, I think, more possible). It is more like the Sam Fox baggage, I guess, though I don't know that much about how her records played off her mythos (weren't they heavily sexualised? (the way that the 'stars are blind' is kind of shiny and listless and 'if you show me real love, baby, i'll show you mine' is really key, I think, it's like a comment on the paris-persona while also being a lovely dreamy pop song)).
― stop moving. (cis), Tuesday, 22 August 2006 12:39 (6 years ago) Permalink
(How long until the Coleen record comes out, btw? There must be one around the corner.)
Xpost - Tom OTM really. However I will freely admit to having a kneejerk reaction when the Tara Palmer-Tompkinson record comes out (which IS actually happening).
― Matt DC (Matt DC), Tuesday, 22 August 2006 12:40 (6 years ago) Permalink
― Torgeir Hansen/MRZBW (MRZBW), Tuesday, 22 August 2006 12:40 (6 years ago) Permalink
when i read back what i wrote it reads like someone who has thought that and is indescribably happy that he has been proved right!
(in my plan b singles column, i wrote that i expected it to be amazing in a very specific way, but i was genuinely shocked that it was emotionally compelling as well - i mean, 'stars are blind' was certainly not what i was expecting)
― The Lex (The Lex), Tuesday, 22 August 2006 12:40 (6 years ago) Permalink
― Dom Passantino (Dom Passantino), Tuesday, 22 August 2006 12:41 (6 years ago) Permalink
― The Lex (The Lex), Tuesday, 22 August 2006 12:42 (6 years ago) Permalink
Worth noting because unlike The Lex, I didn't want to like/love Paris as pop star (or anything really).
I'm actually only criticising the one Paris record I've heard because it sounds like a bad UB40 cover
what makes it so bad exactly? inauthenticity? should it be 'stronger' in sound even tho this wouldn't be a true reflection of PH's personality (supposedly - she's playing up to a girly stereotype perhaps, but not necess. a bad thing)? this UB40 comparison seems pretty lazy.
― Konal Doddz (blueski), Tuesday, 22 August 2006 12:42 (6 years ago) Permalink
― Britain's Obtusest Shepherd (Alan), Tuesday, 22 August 2006 12:43 (6 years ago) Permalink
― Dom Passantino (Dom Passantino), Tuesday, 22 August 2006 12:44 (6 years ago) Permalink
― Josh in Chicago (Josh in Chicago), Tuesday, 22 August 2006 12:44 (6 years ago) Permalink
Tim -- 'style' = my term of the moment for thinking about things, makes slightly more sense with literature than music so I should have kept it to myself really. I think I agree with everything else you're saying.
Matt -- if poptimism means elevating the entertainment value of something above everything else, then I have no interest in it at all! Surely the correct name for this is 'hedonism' or possibly 'decadence'.
Bashment -- 'it's the songs stupids'. Julia Lennon principle -- where does the song start / stop? It's never 'just' a song.
Of course I haven't heard the Paris album, it may be drivel for all I know.
― alext (alext), Tuesday, 22 August 2006 12:44 (6 years ago) Permalink
― Bashment Jakes (Enrique), Tuesday, 22 August 2006 12:44 (6 years ago) Permalink
I personally do not rate Sam Fox's singles that much - "Touch Me" is OK but she's no Sabrina.
― Tom (Groke), Tuesday, 22 August 2006 12:45 (6 years ago) Permalink
Yes, Paris didn't 'fall from grace' as it were. In many people's minds she started from zero/with nothing and her rep could only improve as a result. It's now v difficult to see how I could dislike her/idea of her more or as much as I did when The Simple Life first started showing now that she's made a pop album this is not bad (even if it's not in same league as Xtina or whoever), which seems like a good thing.
― Konal Doddz (blueski), Tuesday, 22 August 2006 12:46 (6 years ago) Permalink
well indeed, but when you're paris hilton you surely have to work *double* hard to get the song right because you have nothing else going for you.
― Bashment Jakes (Enrique), Tuesday, 22 August 2006 12:46 (6 years ago) Permalink
This isn't quite what i was saying though alan - I was saying that poptimism (in the sense of a style of talking/writing about music) can unwittingly buy into the same characterisation of pop as rockist decriers of "manufactured pop" use. In other words, I think it's a rhetorical failure to say "yes, it's nothing but entertainment, and that is why it is great!"
As much as it would be to say, "no, no, it's not just entertainment, it's filled up with meaning just like yr much vaunted rock!" Which is (I think) what Matt was accusing Lex of doing.
I tend to self-identify as a popist/poptimist though - I don't think these tendencies are fatal.
― Tim Finney (Tim Finney), Tuesday, 22 August 2006 12:47 (6 years ago) Permalink
Where can I hear this record? Is the bear being mistreated?
― Raw Patrick (Raw Patrick), Tuesday, 22 August 2006 12:49 (6 years ago) Permalink
― Tim Finney (Tim Finney), Tuesday, 22 August 2006 12:49 (6 years ago) Permalink
this is a point i don't really get. why is paris hilton's sleb persona so repulsive? i don't see it as any 'worse' than britney, or j-lo, or kylie, all of whom get approval from poptimists. if anything the ludicrous nature of p hilton's fame makes her a BETTER candidate to be a popstar.
― The Lex (The Lex), Tuesday, 22 August 2006 12:50 (6 years ago) Permalink
The first question I ask when I hear some music is "does this entertain me?". Obviously this isn't the only question I ask, and it may end up not being the most important.
― Tom (Groke), Tuesday, 22 August 2006 12:51 (6 years ago) Permalink
― Tom (Groke), Tuesday, 22 August 2006 12:52 (6 years ago) Permalink
haha there was a v sympathetic interview in the guardian about a month ago which made exactly this case. i guess it is easier to present someone as sentient in print. but it's not paris's person we care about, right? it's her persona which can include anything we choose to project on to her.
critics go O NOES
ironically, the actual critics in the uk have pretty much all given the album middling-to-good reviews, in a "haha these songs are actually ok despite her" way.
― The Lex (The Lex), Tuesday, 22 August 2006 12:53 (6 years ago) Permalink
She is an 80s pop star, with 80s-sounding songs!
― Konal Doddz (blueski), Tuesday, 22 August 2006 12:53 (6 years ago) Permalink
Curiously, Robbie is one of the few Very Famous Indeed popstars who most Poptimists (including the Lex) are ambivalent or outright hostile to.
― Matt DC (Matt DC), Tuesday, 22 August 2006 12:57 (6 years ago) Permalink
― Tim Finney (Tim Finney), Tuesday, 22 August 2006 13:14 (6 years ago) Permalink
Tom, isn't this question - even by itself - a bit more complex than it appears though? Or rather, it's a simple question which is referring to an operation whcih may not be simple. Needless to say, I don't think pop records which are entertaining are entertaining in the same way.
I mean, I'd even be prepared to accept that "does this entertain me?" is the only question we need to ask about any music, but then I'd define "entertain" so broadly that you could fit half the world of pop music criticism inside that one question.
― Tim Finney (Tim Finney), Tuesday, 22 August 2006 13:23 (6 years ago) Permalink
Isn't the Robbie problem also in the gravitas of his Big Singles? I think he occupies a similar position for ze poptimists as do, e.g, Coldplay/Keane, this thing which sonically isn't pop (owing more to 'guitar music' or wvs) but is popular. But, yeah, Robbie's early career is really interesting in terms of self-positioning - from Freedom's "take back your singing in the rain" male-artist-goes-solo-as-George-Michael onward.
― stop moving. (cis), Tuesday, 22 August 2006 15:38 (6 years ago) Permalink
Yes sorry that was sort of what I was trying to imply - the second question might be "how?" and the third "why?" for instance.
― Tom (Groke), Tuesday, 22 August 2006 16:56 (6 years ago) Permalink
― gear (gear), Tuesday, 22 August 2006 17:00 (6 years ago) Permalink
The more I think about it, the more a lot of the kneejerk criticism (mostly from the mainstream press, not message board debate) is there's a sense that Paris for some reason isn't ALLOWED to be a pop star. In the UK market the Paris album is broadly aimed at (the Heat magazine demographic, to crassly put it), she's (ahem) screwed by two big things:
1. An established tradition of laughing at Paris (as Tom's pointed out elsewhere), from bad dresses to what happens when she tries to work on a farm on TV.
2. A general suspicion of presenters, actresses or other media personalities who turn their hand to releasing records. This goes right back to the 80s Aussie soap stars and only Kylie has really been allowed to transcend that (even J-Lo's still viewed with some suspicion). Mind you some Proper Pop Stars suffer from this as well, Rachel Stevens' album was fantastic and yet her Lads Mag persona was so offputting to its market that it scuppered sales. The exact same record given to Kylie would've been hailed as a classic.
Whereas the biggest pop stars (Britney, Madge, Xtina, Robbie) succeed because they ARE pop, it's not merely something to fill in the gaps between photo shoots. Likewise the moral disapproval side is maybe overplayed - R Kelly fucking underage girls didn't prevent Ignition from being a massive hit.
This is a totally rockist viewpoint to take but I reckon its pretty widespread outside the realm of interweb debates.
(I've now listened to Screwed and Nothing In This World - they're not outright awful and there's the basis of a good tune in both of them but the execution is poor. Melodically they lurch around uncomfortably and both the performance and the production are a bit limp and don't really take off).
― Matt DC (Matt DC), Tuesday, 22 August 2006 18:46 (6 years ago) Permalink
If we'd been following the last couple of years of Skanky Ho Britney without her ever having released a record, she'd be considerably less favourably viewed even if the debut single was as amazing as Baby One More Time multiplied by Toxic.
Or, to magnify the point, imagine how it'd be perceived if Jade Goody released an album tomorrow?
― Matt DC (Matt DC), Tuesday, 22 August 2006 18:51 (6 years ago) Permalink
dude, someone who proclaims she's in the same line as marilyn monroe and madonna has a few loose screws in her head. that's saying if she HAS any. she does take herself seriously and does really consider herself to be the shit (or hott). i think this is the main reason why i won't be able to enjoy the record, i have a pre-established notion of her being as self-absorbed. still i should give it a try...
In other words, the pop audience wants their popstars to at least come into their world with some mystique.
The more you know about a (pop) artist, the less you can be entertained. There's too much information, too much knowledge, so you can't build a dream, can't mirror yourself on the artist.
― Nathalie (stevie nixed), Tuesday, 22 August 2006 18:58 (6 years ago) Permalink
nathalie: i think " a few screws loose", "thinks she's hott" and "self-absorbed" as all v good qualities in a popstar.
The more you know about a (pop) artist, the less you can be entertained. There's too much information, too much knowledge, so you can't build a dream, can't mirror yourself on the artist.
i find this interesting - so for all the focus on people not taking paris seriously because she's fake...this makes more sense, not taking her seriously because her life is so public that we think we know what she's like already - and we think she's too dumb to get in character for a song, so essentially we are saying that paris hilton the popstar is too REAL!
this i understand. i find all the lyrics which double as both lovely dreamy romance words and comments on Paris The Celebrity cute, but we know how badly meta plays with many people, so...yeah, when she sings something like "since i'm already screwed" or "if you show me real love baby i'll show you mine" that could be TOO MUCH of what we perceive to be the 'real' paris impinging on the song.
in fact i did say on poptimists that i felt there was too much conflating of paris-the-persona and paris-the-person going on - and this interview reveals that curiously, paris herself has a good grip on the situation.
Hilton says the baby voice she uses on the reality TV show "The Simple Life" is an act.
"I'm always playing a character," she says. "I don't talk like this really -- like a baby. I don't act like myself in public, because I don't really want to show everyone the real me. Because I have no privacy whatsoever, the only thing I have is who I really am."
that's a really good quote actually.
― The Lex (The Lex), Tuesday, 22 August 2006 19:14 (6 years ago) Permalink
*not v good or detailed as originally intended to be capsule review in the print mag until i missed the deadline, idiot me
― The Lex (The Lex), Tuesday, 22 August 2006 19:18 (6 years ago) Permalink
Very true. :-)
― Nathalie (stevie nixed), Tuesday, 22 August 2006 19:24 (6 years ago) Permalink
― Konal Doddz (blueski), Tuesday, 22 August 2006 19:31 (6 years ago) Permalink
I said in my Uncut review that reason people are fascinated by Paris isn't her hottness - which the record is obsessed with - but her wealth. The record could have been fantastic if the writers had the wit to completely up the bling ante - Madonna meets Marie Antoinette meets Grace Kelly - that's where Paris stands out. By trying to focus on her supposed sexxiness, the record was always bound to fail.
― Jerry the Nipper (Jerrynipper), Tuesday, 22 August 2006 19:38 (6 years ago) Permalink
― Tom (Groke), Tuesday, 22 August 2006 19:51 (6 years ago) Permalink
I'm disappointed the PSBs would sooner produce for him than her (esp. given their fine pedigree working with female vocalists...Kensit and even Minelli not being that much of a step up from Hilton really!)
― Konal Doddz (blueski), Tuesday, 22 August 2006 19:55 (6 years ago) Permalink
i agree that this would have been a really interesting avenue to pursue - i would have loved it - but i think the general public would have been v turned off by it. but the record doesn't really focus on her sexxiness - sure there are those three songs about turning people on, boys fighting over her &c but the bulk of the album is all about how much she wants to be loved and associated Real Love fantasies.
― The Lex (The Lex), Tuesday, 22 August 2006 19:57 (6 years ago) Permalink
Unless it sounded like Confessions of a Pop Group, which it totally should.
― Domenico Buttez (ESTEBAN BUTTEZ~!!!), Tuesday, 22 August 2006 22:29 (6 years ago) Permalink
Amazingly, that long-to-materialize album (it's hard to call it highly anticipated) turns out to be shockingly good — and not just according to a grading curve for actors-turned-singers. After all, Paris was never an actress to begin with; she was a media creation who peddled the same image to a number of different formats, and it just so happens that her sexy, spoiled, shallow act is perfectly suited for bubblegum pop. Of course, it helps that she has a crack team of professionals supporting her on Paris, chief among them songwriter Kara DioGuardi and producer/co-writer Scott Storch, who is name-dropped on the first song "Turn It Up," and leaves a heavy imprint on the rest of the record producing just over half of it and serving as one of the executive producers along with Tom Whalley and Paris herself. They come up with a sound that's casually modern and retro with enough heft in its rhythms to sound good at clubs, yet it's designed to be heard outdoors on the sunniest day of the summer. This is exceedingly light music, as sweet and bubbly as a wine spritzer, yet it isn't so frothy that it floats away. Like the best lightweight pop, Paris retains its sense of fun through repeated listens, long past the point that the novelty of Paris Hilton releasing a good album has worn off. Make no mistake, Paris is a very good pop album, at times deliberately reminiscent of Blondie, Madonna, and Gwen Stefani, yet having its own distinct character — namely, Paris' persona, which is shamelessly shallow and devoid of any depth. Where that might be irritating within a movie or within pop culture at large, when placed in a shiny, hooky dance-pop album it works splendidly, particularly because the songs are strong and Storch and company know how to keep things light — and everybody involved knows that it's fun to play around with Paris' image, no matter if it's her murmuring "that's hot" at the beginning of the record or covering Rod Stewart's "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy," or writing about her feud with Nicole Ritchie on the delightful "Jealousy." But for as much as Paris is about Paris, she doesn't necessarily stand out here; her voice — which is almost certainly auto-tuned and tweaked by a computer, yet it's nevertheless appealing, more so than Britney Spears' often awkward squawk — may blend into the production, yet that actually helps the recordings since it emphasizes the melodies above everything else. And there are some irresistible melodies here: the breezy "Stars Are Blind," the gilded rush of "I Want You" driven by a "Grease" sample, the sweet "Time After Time" rewrite "Heartbeat," and the great power pop of "Screwed," for starters.
Yes, there is no denying that this is a pure piece of product, but it is indeed pure as product. Paris makes no apologies for being mass-market pop, but everybody involved made sure that this was well-constructed mass-market pop. It may not bear the mark of an auteur the way Christina Aguilera's Back to Basics does, but it never feels tossed-off, and track-for-track it's more fun than anything released by Britney Spears or Jessica Simpson, and a lot fresher, too. It's easy to hate Paris Hilton — lord knows that she and her friends like Brandon Davis are walking advertisements against the repeal of the estate tax — but any pop fan who listens to Paris with an open mind will find that it's nothing but fun.
― deej.. (deej..), Tuesday, 22 August 2006 22:47 (6 years ago) Permalink
― gear (gear), Tuesday, 22 August 2006 22:56 (6 years ago) Permalink
― Steve Go1dberg (Steve Schneeberg), Wednesday, 23 August 2006 00:19 (6 years ago) Permalink
― Scourage (Haberdager), Wednesday, 23 August 2006 00:20 (6 years ago) Permalink
― Steve Go1dberg (Steve Schneeberg), Wednesday, 23 August 2006 00:30 (6 years ago) Permalink
― Scourage (Haberdager), Wednesday, 23 August 2006 00:36 (6 years ago) Permalink
― Steve Go1dberg (Steve Schneeberg), Wednesday, 23 August 2006 00:59 (6 years ago) Permalink
― Scourage (Haberdager), Wednesday, 23 August 2006 01:02 (6 years ago) Permalink