Website: Jessica Simpson
The Inside Pulse:
Album number four for the elder Simpson sister comes immediately following a highly publicized divorce (see the album title) and, luckily for her, immediately following the release of the laughable Paris. Jess has changed a lot since her 2003 album, In This Skin, to say the very least. Shifting to an almost entirely dance-pop focus, A Public Affair is intended as a fun record as opposed to any sort of deep insight into the girl with the supposed genius IQ. But hey, divorces are ugly, and this album doesn’t want to dwell on that. It’s all about being newly single and having fun.
Positives: Thank you, Ms. Simpson, for not releasing another album that is half ballads. Bad ballads, as most would agree. Simpson’s pop-worthy voice isn’t the focus of the record; rather, it seems an afterthought or accent to the retro beats. First single “A Public Affair” is very representative of the album’s style, and it along with “If You Were Mine” are the clear standouts (if not reminiscent of Madonna’s “Holiday” and Janet Jackson’s “When I Think Of You”, respectively).
Negatives: Where to begin? Aside from these beats sounding like New Kids On The Block with a little polish, aside from the utterly cringe-inducing “Push Your Tush,” aside from a thousand borrowed samples that don’t really sit right, well… let’s be blunt: A Public Affair is about on par with Barbie and the Rockers. Yes, that’s a step up from her previous releases. But the biggest humiliation on the album would be “Swing With Me,” a poorly-constructed, stilted mess which seems to exist only to amplify how Simpson is definitely not Christina Aguilera caliber.
Cross-breed: Britney Spears produced by Maurice Starr with some writing help culled from an ’80s karaoke collection.
Reason to buy: The Paris Hilton album just wasn’t mindless and trainwreck enough for you.