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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. caught on early. The site’s an on-line HQ for grassroots street teams, serving up 10 pristinely packaged, super-femmy recording artists, with plenty more en route. Devotees can spread the word about their favorites by flooding chat forums and message boards with links and information, or pimp free promo materials after local concerts. We’ve seen most of the PG girls before they’ve landed a recording deal. There’s Cheyenne Kimball, who’s about to morph from America’s Most Talented Kid (she won the NBC contest when she was 12) into a teen idol, thanks to the network of fans she’s building through Cheyenne, her MTV reality-TV show. There’s also Aly & AJ, the former a Disney Channel vet, the latter a reoccurring character on CBS drama The Guardian; Joanna, who starred on MTV’s True Life documentary series, which followed her while she worked on her album This Crazy Life; Vanessa Ann Hudgens, prim goody-goody of Disney’s High School Musical gone solo; and the Veronicas, Australian twins whose ability to write and play their own music gave Warner Bros. the bright idea to have them compose a hit for the Russian duo t.A.T.u.

Pop Generation is a reflection of just how easy it is for songwriting squads like the Matrix and mixers like Serban Ghenea to manufacture girl pop in industrial quantities and then model it all as designer exclusives. There’s always a new chick who’s just completed her studio time, boasting a curvier figure and an even sassier chorus for fans to lip-synch. Paris is on the PG roster, too — except she keeps turning tricks to set herself apart from the factory mold.

“Never be predictable . . . that way, they will never get tired of you.” That’s Rule #21 of “How To Be an Heiress,” from Confessions of an Heiress, the adult picture book Paris “authored” in 2004. Only Paris would take the high road and assume that we haven’t grown bored of her. And yet she’s right. Cue Rule #22: “If the media plays with you, play with them.”

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America’s next musical genius
(Confessions of an Heir-Head Head) CHEERS to The Phoenix & writer Sharon Steel with the brass balls thereof, as they boldy go where no celebrity bottom feeder has gone before: to openly declare the truth - Paris Hilton: Love her or hate her, she is still so loveable. More than that's hot damn, the Phoenix declares right smackdown dab on the cover, that she's "AMERICA'S NEXT MUSCICAL GENIUS" in big bold face the future or get the hell over yourself. The Truth Hurts, Bitches. ...FINALLY SOMEONE WHO GETS IT! ...The stars are blind but true blue star gazers are ultimately eyes wide open minded and def not deaf. I mean I'm a RADIO CLASH CITY ROCKER from way-back-in-the-day and a radical socialized liberal but that means nobody tells me what I can or can't get off on. I'm sorry, what's that you say? Did I hear Ms. Steel say that "BOO! Ashlee Simpson"'s I AM ME puts L.A.M.B. to shame. HOLY MODAL ROUNDERS the bases and heading for home straight into the arms of Paris Hilton? Hell-a-skip-to-my-lulu-ya! The more people hate on women, the more it makes me ask why? And in the case of Ashlee & Paris, it only made me rashly ravish them more. But then Ashes had already delivered the sonic blows to the empire of my heart. Now here comes Paris and whoops there she goes and gives me a rational reason to lose my mind all over her. SEX is Paris Hilton. She's so sweet AND street. Her new album is so "hot to death" - it's been featured for free on AOL and more than made my week and stopped my heart... it skips a beat to go man go scratch on her door, or rather, the record store's next week... 4 DAYS TILL HILTON! ...sells a ton, the debut debuts at Number 1! Her song "Fightin Over Me" is my YOU GOTTA FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHT TO PARIS MySpace profile theme song. ...To all you playa haters across the nation: "Well, allow me to retort" ...ASHES TO ASHLEE, Angel Dust to Highway Stardust, this Megatop Phoenix gonna rise above, like us she must... Ashlee Simpson's INVINCIBLE - She can dance she can sing she can clown she can bring it on with everything and more till there's nothing left to lose out on the floor but herself in our l.o.v.e. for her. ...And now, WE'LL ALWAYS HAVE PARIS. (
By thewaymouth on 08/19/2006 at 5:25:07
America’s next musical genius
Are you high? Way to dilute the meaning of the word "genius." Once upon a time it was generally reserved for those of the calibre of an Einstein or Mozart. You know, those with exceptional mental prowess. Today it's applied to any dope who figures out that sex sells. Paris Hilton, who is possibly the most useless individual on the planet, deserves to be bludgeoned with a rotting donkey carcass. Why are you wasting ink on her gaudy hypercapitalist date rape soundtrack when there are authentic artists out there who could use the attention? Stop contributing to the dumbing down of our nation.
By RobberBaron on 08/22/2006 at 2:25:29
America’s next musical genius
This is my second letter to dare The Boston Phoenix to publish, in praise of unashamed and unafraid writer Sharon Steel's rave review of Paris Hilton's new debut album, "Paris," and the paper's up-front declaration on the cover that she's "America's Next Musical Genius." The first letter did not get published. So in her words, "Gonna make me scream/ Gonna cause a riot," to get this one into the paper. Since the paper didn't have any need for my effusive approval, I'll lay another plan of attack: to address the only letters they've printed so far, in each of the last two issues, airing haters of Hilton magic touch. _____________________________________________________________ {And since I am posting my new letter here online, in response to apparent mysogynist/neanderthal deaf reader RobberBaron, who claims Paris "deserves to be bludgeoned with a rotting donkey carcass"...for her "gaudy hypercapitalist date rape soundtrack..." Since the Phoenix has not removed his obviously inappropriate comment, in the words of Tricky Dicky Nixon, don't get the impression that you arouse my anger. You see, one can only be angry with those he respects..." Actually I'm still plenty angry, like I am with our president, but if I say anymore I would definitely make inappropriate comments.) ... Now granted "Paris" only landed at number 6 in her first week on Billboard, falling 5 chart positions shy of numero uno as I had predicted, but not bad for a complete loser in the eyes/ears of the letter writers. In the words of Jules from "Pulp Fiction," "well, allow me to retort." The first letter came from a dedicated musician bitter about her lack of success in comparison to that of this Paris come lately. The second letter came from an apparent veteran of hanging out at the local clubs, who ventured that any guitar/bass/drums combo in Boston has 10 times the talent of Paris. Well, in the words of the accused of no talent, who's been playing music since age 6, "jealousy is such an evil thing." __________________________________________ There's art for art's sake, of which I am alas stuck in that rut myself, and then there's commercial success and vindication. A whole lot of money and the right connections, along with timing and luck make for a chance at mass appeal. Then there's marketing at which Paris has certainly proved she's a genius. "You got to live up to your name or else you die in shame," as Mikey Dread once sang about The Clash. To accusations she's just a part of "the star-maker machinery behind the popular song," even genius Joni Mitchell admitted she was. But the bottom line comes down to "who put this thing together? Me, that's who!" Just as Tony Montana responded in "Scarface," the album is by Paris, and is self-titled. She's gets the accolades, she suffers the slams and write-offs, she in fact gets the death threats. She had a lot of help with her album, but she put in the hours, she made the ultimate decisions. In answer to Steel's question, who made the wise decision to to release "Stars Are Blind" as the first single just in time for sweet summertime. The answer is it was against the wishes of main producer Scott Starch. It was decided by Paris and yes, she was right. _______________________________________________________________ As to the end results, the substance behind the flash company, Paris delivers. In fact her album hit the streets one week before that of the most widely acknowledged individual musical genius in rock history: Bob Dylan. His latest album, "Modern Times," has received the expected 5-star reviews all over the place from the usual suspects, the old reviewers in denial of their and his old age, and perhaps even by young reviewers in denial that they were never there when he in fact long ago lived up to his fame. Bob Dylan and The Band at The Boston Garden was the first rock show I ever saw some 30 years ago now, and he's been the most inspirational figure in my life, along with The Clash's Joe Strummer. But as Joe said, at one time or another every artist puts out shit, and nothing but has been delivered again by the now master at it. On first full listen I hated it, then second time around I wanted to be fair and feared I was being too hasty in dismissing it. Third time was the harm as I realized it was worse than I first feared. There is nothing catchy or cool or genius about it. It is the sound of a wheezing by the graveyard, a stink bomb blowing wind. Meanwhile I've listened to Paris's album over 20 times, each time as she black buckles me in for a sizzling pop roller coaster ride on the most fun album of the year. She out-sings him, the musicians outplay his, and the songs slay his. Compared to the old master's never ending tour of decline, Paris's fresh beats are indeed genius.
By thewaymouth on 09/05/2006 at 10:08:16

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