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.
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.
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"