Thursday, January 21, 2010

Heidi Montag's Pop Masterpiece

In breaking news Madonna just ripped out her chicken cutlets and bought a time share in Florida. Reports also confirm that Kylie has just accepted a job as Dannii's new nanny, while Beyoncé is currently on the phone to Solange getting emergency counselling on how it feels to be a nobody. In yet another shocking development, music lovers are mourning the news that La Toya won't be startin' over for at least another 9 years. What could possibly spook pop's leading ladies to such a devastating extent? The answer, my friends, is an album so magnificent it makes "Thriller" sound like "3 Words". From the moment Heidi Montag unleashed her stunning debut single upon the world, it was immediately apparent that pop music had a new saviour. The reality TV superstar followed that anthem with gem after gem but nothing can prepare you for the genius of "Superficial". Heidi's much delayed debut album raises the bar to such an extent that it automatically makes every other diva in the business redundant. Never before has one reed thin voice belted out so many unforgettable anthems about topical issues like clubbing, shopping and looking hot. Heidi's music will not only make you dance - it will widen the horizons of your mind and help put you on the path to righteousness. Here is my track by track review of 2010's first masterpiece:

Look How I'm Doing

I showed you a kiss that they do in France

Like many of the amazing anthems on "Superficial", the opening number isn't exactly new. In fact, slightly different versions previously appeared on both "Wherever I Am" and "Here She Is" - the two EPs Ms Montag released in 2009. I totally understand why "Look How I'm Doing" has been recycled more often than your average Stargate beat. The Cathy Dennis penned, Steve Morales produced track is one of the album's catchiest tunes. I love the chorus, vocal hooks ("ha ha ha ha") and insightful lyrics about looking sexy. Heidi's breathy voice effortlessly floats above the urban dance beats like an angel in heaven making this a memorable opener.

Turn Ya Head

If you're hungry for pleasure, I'll serve you a measure

Heidi's attempt to revolutionise urban pop as we know it also appeared on both her previous EPs. I'm slightly disappointed that "Turn Ya Head" made the cut while vastly superior tracks like "Overdosin", "Fashion" and "Body Language" were left off. There's nothing wrong with the song itself. It just sounds like an outtake from Britney's "Blackout" album - only with better vocals and classier lyrics. However, a major talent like Heidi deserves more challenging material. I think Cathy Dennis was taking the piss on this one.


Boy, you got me checking that I've got a temperature

Apparently this is going to be the album's second single. I was worried when I read that the producer's previous credits include Z grade losers like Anastacia and Delta Goodrem but "Fanatic" is something of a surprise packet. It's a funktastic mid-tempo pop tune drenched in 80s influences - particularly vintage Prince. That could be the reason it reminds me of Kylie's "Still Standing" so strongly. The song works and I like that Heidi has found the time to experiment with her sound between plastic surgeries but it's not really single material. There are better tracks on the album and the level of autotune on "Fanatic" should come with a safety warning.


They say I'm superficial, some call me a bitch
They're just mad 'cause I'm sexy, famous and I'm rich

The album's title track and lead single is a stunning indictment of popular culture and the value judgements made against innocent publicity whores like Heidi. Just because the diva underwent 10 plastic surgeries in one day doesn't make her superficial. It just reflects favourably on her time management skills! Think of this stinging swipe at Heidi's critics as her personal theme song. Furthermore, classy lyrics like "hoppin' out the Maserati, all I see is paparazzi" ensure the track's status as a future trash classic.

More Is More

It's fucking chaos in here

"More Is More" is generally regarded as Heidi's most commercial track, which is reflected by the fact that it is her only hit - reaching a lofty #27 on the US dance chart. Steve Morales really knows how to bring the best out of The Hills icon. She tears up the vocal and injects some real passion into the song. I guess getting wasted in a club is an issue close to Heidi's heart. All jokes aside, "More Is More" would have been a huge hit for anyone else and just proves that evil haters are conspiring to ruin the diva's music career. Have strength, Heidi!

One More Drink

I'm getting lost in this liquid high,
I'm elevated to some new heights

Beer goggles don't get a lot of recognition in popular music but this stunning ode to intoxication rigorously explores the benefits of hooking up while pissed. Legislation should be introduced requiring this song be blasted out of every bar and club on a Saturday night. Heidi is now the patron saint of drunk sex! Inspiring lyrics aside, I actually think "One More Drink" is a brilliant pop tune. The Runners are best known for producing rap acts like Rick Ross and Lil Wayne but unlike some of Heidi's collaborators (I'm talking to you, Cathy Dennis!), these guys have taken the brief seriously and come up with a slinky little anthem that gets stuck in your head and refuses to leave. Worth checking out for camp value alone.


You won't let me leave, you want to strangle me

I wanted to strangle Heidi too by the end of "Twisted". It's a pretty standard bad boyfriend song produced by Sebastian Jacome (the man behind hits for A Listers like the Cheetah Girls and Mexican goddess Anahí) but my problem is the grating vocal. I usually love the pop visionary's voice but she sounds like she's choking on Spencer's cock on this one.

Hey Boy

Don't act like you're payin' my bills,
When you know your broke ass can't even pay attention

Sebastian returns with a similarly themed tune on "Hey Boy". Happily, this is a vastly better effort and wouldn't sound out of place on Ashlee Simpson's hugely underrated "Bittersweet World" album. The production is perky - the combination of rock and dance elements works well - and the lyrics have some much needed bite. A lot of haters have dismissed "Superficial" as sounding like the one song repeated twelve times but "Hey Boy" is an example of Heidi switching things up and exploring different genres. I still think her calling is synthpop but this isn't horrible by any means.

My Parade

The main attraction if you're lookin' for some action

Don't be put off by the song's opening verse, which sounds like yet another cheerleading anthem in the vein of Gwen Stefani's "Hollaback Girl". "My Parade" swiftly transforms into a straightforward pop track and is ultimately a fine addition to Heidi's growing library of party anthems. The production (courtesy of Fingazz) is Danja-lite but that's a compliment of sorts. The heavy beats will get your feet moving and mercilessly take the attention away from the inane lyrics.


I'm over the stories that we'll never make it,
When I think of losing you, baby I hate it

There isn't a lot more I can say about "Blackout". I already devoted a post to its brilliance and featured it in my best of 2009 countdown. I guess I'd just like to reiterate that this is the sound I think Heidi should be pursuing. Her voice tends to get swallowed by heavy beats, which rules out the vast majority of Britney/Robyn rip-offs she is given. The more subtle synthpop of "Overdosin'", "Body Language" and "Blackout" is where she comes into her own. In all seriousness, I'd love Kylie or Dannii to have a song this good on either of their next albums.

I'll Do It

I fuck to get attention,
I brought some treats,
I know that you're gonna love 'em
Eat my panties off of me

And the award for the best song of "Superficial" goes to "I'll Do It" in a landslide. Yet another Steve Morales production, this sleazy jam is absolutely outrageous. Heidi displays her formidable intellect by dissecting gender roles with probing lyrics like "I'll be your hot mess, school girl with curls - whatever you like, I'll do it". Apart from exploring sexual politics and popular culture's dark underbelly of misogyny, the song also boasts a wicked chorus and dizzying middle eight. I can't get enough of this filth.

Love It Or Leave It

I'm an important lady,
When I show up they pay me

Appropriately, the album ends with another fuck you to Heidi's critics. Unlike the title track, "Love It Or Leave It" actually has a bit of bite and works surprisingly well. The production and autotune overload smoothers her voice but this is the closest you're going to get to the real Heidi. All in all, "Superficial" is a remarkably enjoyable collection of pop tunes that deserved to sell more than a mere 658 copies in its first week! Chalk this up as 2010's first great album.

Rating - 10/10

"I'll Do It" - my favourite track on "Superficial"


AOTG said...

I'm tempted to purchase this just for the novelty value. Alas, the world has conspired against me and won't even let me buy a pint of milk...

The Prophet said...

Love love love this album.

It's definitely a shame that flawless gems such as Body Language and Overdosin' were left off, but they were already officially released on Heidi's EP's so the album would've been disappointing if it didn't contain new material.

Fanatic is my favorite by miles, I'm obsessed with it. You were right with the Kylie & Prince comparisons.

Oh, and there is nothing urban about Turn Ya Head (or the whole album), and it sounds nothing like anything from Blackout, to even say so is absurd and makes it sound like you've never heard the album properly.

I agree about the shitty vocals on Twisted, and at first I couldn't listen to it because of the grating screech "You're twiiiissssttteeeeed, like a liar you're giffffffttteeeedddd" but then after a few listens you get used to it and it's amazing!

tommie said...

I almost agree with everything except your criticism of "Twisted" - I think Heidi emotes wonderfully on that track. You can clearly hear the conflict in her voice!

Best album of the decade!

John said...

"Best album of the decade!"

Depending on how you define the word "decade", it either sets the bar REALLY low, or the drugs are much better than mine.

The material actually isn't that bad, but the performances are pretty lame. Maybe this was just supposed to be a demo for Leighton Meester, and accidentally got released as Heidi's.

tommie said...

John - you like Lady GaGa and Mika. You have no credibility or taste!

Robpop said...

Mike, great to have you back-two brilliant diva posts here. I will listen without prejudice. I'm worried about her plastic surgery. She seriously doesn't need it. You know she can't actually promote the single now because her face and throat muscles are so sore. :-( The face was stretched so much that she can't, at the moment, move the face to sing (or crack a smile). That is worrying to me.

The outrage in LA over Heidi and her surgery is ridiculous. This is hollywood people. She is a product of Hollywood. She is putting a mirror up to Hollywood and saying this is you. This is me. In this way, Heidi is amazing. She is a deep construct of our Occidental society. More so than bankers, depression and debt. She is all this and more. She is a performative+living result of what we are. She is someone who, for me, holds up a mirror to the world. For me, she could emerge as a cybernet creature. Autotuned and constructed by the citizens and scientists. She is a body without organ. She is a TRUE BwO.

tommie said...

Robpop - I SO agree that Heidi's just holding up a mirror - realistically, if Heidi hadn't shared all the procedures she did during one day and just debuted her "new" look, I wonder how many would actually guess she had ten different things done?

You know what I just realised? The short-lived Pop Trash Addicts board needs to open again. The state of most forums is seriously dire and unappreciative of glamourous artists like Heidi and La Toya!

Brian Chang said...

Yes! Love Superficial and you should include the songs not on the CD as well. Overdosin is epic same goes to Body Language with the trashtastic performance at Miss Universe!

KumaTenshi said...

*blank stare*

Okay, quite obviously, Heidi promised blow jobs for life to whoever wrote this review of her album.

Whatever credibility this site or it's reviewers had just went out the window with this.

Mike said...

Jacques - Does this mean you're speaking to me again?

Rob - I totally agree with everything you said. I think you'll love the album.

Tommie - LOL at the Pop Trash Addicts forum. I had totally forgotten about that ghost town! Maybe I should re-open it just for shits and giggles.

Anonymous said...

I like it!

catchy enough, well produced... I think there is massive hate for the gal for reasons outside of the album itself.

Moogaboo said...

Y'know, initially I only downloaded "One More Drink," which I love, but you've made me realize the brilliance of "I'll Do It." What a jam! She's so underrated, although maybe that's a good thing...

D'luv said...

You inspired illegally download this trash! (Just kidding RIAA)!

danna said...

Have you all lost your minds???? THis is not music- this is sheer horror!!!!

Bettie Comerford said...

I've also purchased this album and as I was listening to her songs, I found them great. She has a nice voice, actually. Her new look is also way better now. Because of that, I also want to have a breast augmentation maybe in Scottsdale or in neighboring towns. I wish I could have one in a clinic that offers breast enlargement Phoenix has before my birthday next month. I'm so excited!