America’s next musical genius

Paris Hilton serves up a sonic bitchslap
By SHARON STEEL  |  August 22, 2006

AGAINST ALL ODDS: The real shocker is that Paris Hilton’s homonymous debut sounds good — better than good.
Nobody is surprised when Paris Hilton screws up. She’s a living cartoon, someone gossip columnists depend on to slur faux pas and engage in loud public displays of bad behavior and irresistible loaded misadventures. But her latest shocker is far more outrageous than one of her infamous nip slips. That would be her forthcoming homonymous debut, Paris (Warner Bros.) — specifically the disc’s sophisticated, if trendy, party beats and the remarkable tone of her voice. More to the point, she sounds good. Better than good. Paris may be evidence that one of the Hilton girls was put on this earth for reasons that go beyond the number of Swarovski crystals glued to her BlackBerry. It’s taken her 24 months, two video shoots for her first single, a futile attempt at covering Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy,” and a mega-million collaboration team, but she’s hit pop paydirt. Wonder whether hotel magnate Conrad Hilton ever had a clue that his oldest granddaughter was born to be auto-tuned?

Paris earns a superfluous income by selling every inch of herself. She’s one of those ubiquitous celebs whom pop-culture consumers all claim to loathe. But someone’s tuning into all those Sunday-afternoon E! specials about her, not to mention her reality show The Simple Life. Paris the album was supposed to wash her skank-socialite reputation even farther down the gutter. But she managed not to blow it this time. Now comes the real test: can Paris the album win over the haters who wrote off Paris the person ages ago? If after her disastrous shitshow of a Saturday Night Live performance Ashlee Simpson was able to rebound with a sophomore effort for Geffen that puts L.A.M.B. to shame, who’s to say Paris can’t serve up a sonic bitch slap on her first try?

It’s all about who you hire to clean up your dirty work. Paris didn’t have to learn Ashlee’s lesson the hard way; she knew she had to retain a drummer capable of cueing the correct vocal backing track from the get-go. Legitimate talent isn’t how she scored Scott Storch, the knob-twiddling hip-hop wonder boy and a reliable hitmaker worth his weight in platinum grills, as her main-man producer. (Wonder how Beyoncé and Kanye West, two of Storch’s other clients, felt when they heard this Storch endorsement: “She’s got quite a musical ability. Her rhythm is much better than a lot of people I’ve recorded in the past.”) Regardless of what swayed Storch, Paris represents the latest leading export in a fresh wave of girl pop. Britney’s knocked up yet again. X-Tina has gotten hitched and moved on to ’50s-inspired glam. Not to worry. A brand-new legion of tiara-toting girlie girls are poised to bring back the bubble gum.

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  Topics: Music Features , Madonna (Entertainer), Reality Shows, Kanye West,  More more >
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