The Null Device

Bucketing Paris Hilton

The debut album from Paris Hilton, icon of our times and/or unjustifiable waste of oxygen, is out, and the Graun's Alexis Petridis is having a hard time restraining his glee:
"I know music," she reassured the Sunday Times children's section. "I hear it every single day." While this obviously gives Hilton a massive advantage over those who have never heard any music and thus believe it to be a variety of cheese, there remains the nagging suspicion that this might not represent sufficient qualification for a career as a singer, in much the same way as knowing what a child is does not fully equip you for a career as a consultant paediatrician.
Understandably, those behind Hilton's debut album have left little to chance, employing a vast team of crack producers and songwriters. Some decisions regarding membership of said team seem a little baffling - when Hilton's record label decided a reggae track "would be a really good fit", they naturally called songwriter Shep Solomon, famed for mashing up Kingston dancehalls with militant Rastafarian collective S Club 7 and ragga's Queen of Slackness Natalie Imbruglia - but you can't argue with its hit-making pedigree.
But as Turn It Up cranks into life, you realise why Hilton felt it necessary to confirm to the Sunday Times that she knew what music was. She sings like a woman who has heard of something called singing, can't be sure of exactly what it might entail, but is fairly certain you do something a bit like this. She sounds both distracted and bored stiff, as if making an album is keeping her from the more serious business of standing around a nightclub in a pair of really enormous sunglasses.
On Stars Are Blind, the combination of tinny cod-reggae and your-call-is-being-held-in-a-queue vocal technique results in something so plasticky, it's perversely enjoyable. Elsewhere, Hilton's audible lack of interest torpedoes her own chances. Someone has encouraged her to make erotically charged squeals of affirmation and panting noises, with deleterious results. "Yah! Uh-huh-huh! Yah!" she huffs, like a Sloane Ranger having an asthma attack.
From its description, the album sounds predictably bad; the natural product of an "artist" who epitomises content-free, vacuous celebrity. It'll be interesting to see how it will be received. Will it sink without a trace, with entire boxes of excess stock ending up in landfills? Will it, come December 2009, end up on lists of least essential albums of the decade? Or will it rise above obscurity? Will it be adopted ironically as a bulldada classic, a sort of musical equivalent of Showgirls, or will the poptimist tendency, always eager to repudiate rockism and indie snobbery, embrace its sugar-slick production values and professional songwriting in a completely unironic sense?

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