La Tisdale's much-hyped second album, the peculiarly titled Guilty Pleasure, came and went with nary a mention on this blog. I bet you found that odd given my La Tisdale obsession and my crazed reaction to the single cover for goodness sake, but I have my reasons. Mainly, the album is a complete piece of crap--maybe even worse than Headstrong--and doesn't highlight La Tisdale's best assets as a vocalist and entertainer. In countless interviews, she kept describing her sound as more mature and edgier, but nothing about the resulting album showed that. The first single, 'It's Alright, It's OK,' was a Kelly Clarkson-ripoff that sounded decent the first couple of times but grew repetitive and eventually had me yearning to press the next button on my iTunes whenever it came on. I hoped against hope that it was a case of the bad first single disguising a pretty decent album like Beyoncé's 'Deja Vu' and the resulting B'day, but, unfortunately, things didn't work out that way. Nearly every song on the album sounds the same with it's pop-rock beats, loud chanty choruses and lyrics that sound like leftovers from Clarkson's middling All I Ever Wanted. The only listenable song on the album is 'Switch,' a far cry from the genius that is her masterpiece 'He Said She Said.'
Somewhere along the way, La Tisdale confused "mature" with "sounding like every generic pop singer yearning to break away from her pop roots." What she (and most American musicians) doesn't realize is that there is a way to sound more mature without being forced to do Clarkson-lite material. Just look across the pond for numerous examples of artists who do pop music that is sleek, contemporary and not aimed at only the kiddies: Girls Aloud, Sugababes, Alphabeat, Alesha Dixon, Pixie Lott, Robyn, etc. Plus, and even I can admit this, La Tisdale doesn't have the strongest voice around, so she can't belt like Kelly can to cover up a less than adequate song. She needs strong production and catchy hooks, much like Britney did on her Blackout album. Without someone pushing her into this direction, she is basically resigning herself to becoming another mediocre Disney musician forever trying to transition into adulthood. She doesn't want that and I for sure don't want that. She has the talent and the drive to become a dance pop goddess, now she just needs to make it happen.