Edge

That’s kind of hot…

“Uh.yeah.that’s hot.” It should come as no surprise that these are the first words whispered by Paris Hilton in the heiress’ self-titled musical debut. While it’s clear from the get-go that Paris is no lyrical genius, one can’t deny that the adult video star turned pop culture fixture has a music arsenal that any teen-queen should envy.

Case in point: Paris and Hillary Duff’s sister Haylie fought over the song “Screwed” back in late 2004. Just as it normally turns out in celebrity catfights, Paris won. Co-written by frequent Ashlee Simpson-collaborator Kara DioGuardi, the song epitomizes Paris’ musical style at its best; infectious pop infused with elements of dance and rock.

While the hooks on “Paris” are unquestionably irresistible, the blonde bombshell’s voice leaves much to be desired. Paris’ range and tone are so mediocre that not even a plethora of editing can make her sound like a gifted vocalist. Take, for instance, her performance on “Heartbeat,” a ballad that sounds too reminiscent of Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time” to be a product of happenstance. Even though the song doesn’t pose much of a vocal challenge, Paris’ voice sounds so electronically manipulated that it can be easily confused with a keyboard. Paris realizes she isn’t the next Mariah and flaunts it by the vast array of up-tempo ditties on “Paris.” Songs such as “I Want You” and “Nothing in This World,” honed for the dance floor by former Eminem producer Scott Storch, suggest that if Paris is modeling herself after anyone, it is Britney Spears. Not one to refrain from cooking up some controversy, Paris sings about her hostile relations with “Simple Life” co-star and former friend Nicole Richie in “Jealousy.” The dramatic number – featuring violins fit for a funeral – hardly makes musical history; but with lyrics like “You were only happy when the world was opening up my scars,” it will undoubtedly become gossip fodder.

The best thing that can be said about “Paris” is that despite its lack of originality and stellar vocal performances, the debut album of one of the most loved and loathed women in media has the potential to turn out more hits than just “Stars Are Blind,” the reggae-tinged love song of the summer. This is good news for pop music fans who crave audible candy on par with material from the late ’90s. While Christina spends her time channeling Etta James and Britney changes diapers, music buyers shouldn’t feel guilty to check into the Paris Hilton.

Nick Maslow may be contacted at n.maslow@umiami.edu.

September 5, 2006

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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly on Thursdays during the regular academic year.