Up CD is Simply "Irresistible"
pop diva is going to fail. The slickly-produced set, titled
"Irresistible", boasts a bevy of hot writers, a set of
super-producers, and, of course, the backing of an entire label.
albums are make it or break it time for artists. Jessica
Simpson knows the follow up to 1999's "Sweet Kisses" either
pushes her to superstardom - or puts her back on the mall tour.
Sony top-man Tommy Mattola backing her, reportedly hand-selecting
each of the disc's 12 tracks, chances are slim the
the defection of Sony's pop powerhouse and former Ms. Mattola,
Mariah Carey, to rival Columbia, the label is looking for a young,
moldable artist to build into the franchise Carey ultimately became.
Simpson presents a very blond, very beautiful, and reasonably
talented opportunity for the label. Their goal for Simpson:
Total domination of the pop charts.
that said, the 20 year old Texan is poised to wade from the sea of
Britneys to become tomorrow's Mariah, Madonna or Janet. Simpson
has shaved off a few pounds of baby fat, compromised a few religious
values to don a sexier wardrobe, and put together a more R&B and
street-influenced disc than the goody-goody "Sweet Kisses."
scaling the charts is the up-tempo title track, which is rapidly
jumping toward the Top 10. Like many tracks on
"Irresistible", the first single is content to utilize the
well-worn formula for current popular music. The poppy,
mid-tempo tune, complete with a slight Spanish influence, treads on
slightly risqué ground for the devout Christian as the
verbiage is open for misinterpretation and double-entendre.
a very sexy throaty growl.
not! She's still a virgin, folks. Perhaps if she wasn't,
she and 98 Degrees' Nick Lechey wouldn't be "taking a break"
from seeing one another!]
like the danceable "A Little Bit" and "What's It
Gonna Be" (which sounds like a carbon copy of any number of
Carey tracks for the first 15 seconds) follow a similarly simple,
straight-forward pop formula. "Hot Like Fire"
presents a radio-worthy, hip-hop influenced track that allows Simpson
to display her talents along-
flawlessly shifts gears from one of pop music's clichés,
Britney, to another, the patented sound of Dark Child Productions
(Destiny's Child, Mya, Toni Braxton). While
"Imagination" uses little in its formula, Simpson sounds
right at home. "I Never" fares much better, providing
Simpson the hip sound that will likely make inroads for her with
urban markets. Fans of tracks like Braxton's "He Wasn't
Man Enough" or Mya's "Case of the Ex (Whatcha Gon'
Do?)" should lap this one up.
was the case with Carey before her, and Whitney Houston before her,
the longevity of Simpson's career could well be built on the strength
of her ballads. Her break-through single, the Top 5 smash
"I Wanna Love You Forever", garnered comparisons to Carey.
Nothing on "Irresistible" is going to ease that comparison.
You Told Me You Loved Me" and "To Fall In Love Again,"
co-written by Lachey, are both Mariah-worthy power ballads, and
Simpson's voice is perfectly at home. On the soaring "When
You Told Me" Simpson is mournful, broken as she asks "How
was I to know you'd run - Baby, I thought you were the one."
combination. Mattola and company should be quite happy with
the results. Simpson and her fans can heave a sigh of relief.
She made it past that ugly "Sophomore Slump" with career -
and virginity - in tact!
most obvious choice on the album is "There You Were," a
duet with labelmate and Latino heartthrob Marc Anthony ("I Need
to Know"). Beautiful, wrenching, and steeped in emotion,
"There You Were" will position both artists atop the pop
charts by its fall release. Guaranteed. Success is
written all over this perfectly crafted power ballad.
fail, Simpson has found a