A Cinderella Story
I know I’m flushing scene points down the toilet by admitting this, but in terms of teen pop, I have a soft spot for Hilary Duff. It boils down to image: she hasn’t yet reached the age where she’ll misidentify trashiness with independence assertion (Britney, Xtina, anyone?), but she’s old enough to sing songs about relationships and not completely give me the willies (Jojo). I haven’t watched A Cinderella Story nor have I listened to Duff’s music beyond the one or two songs that have found their way onto pop radio. Still, Duff’s glossy pop-punk songs here positively bleed sunshine. She contributes five tracks — including a version of The Go-Gos’ “Our Lips Are Sealed” with her sister Haylie — and they are undoubtedly the highlight of the project. Duff’s voice isn’t particularly strong and she inexplicably lapses into an affected British accent occasionally, but it’s cute and harmless.
The same can’t be said for her male counterpart on the album, Jesse McCartney. With funk so white it’s blinding, he actually makes the claim on “Beautiful Soul” that “[he wants] you and your beautiful soul.” Ohh…ominous! A satanic request via interminable pop music AND it’s a hit on Radio Disney! Rounding out the disc are Bon Jovi’s shadow, Goo Goo Dolls, Christian punk’s answer to Blink 182, MxPx, a token hip-hop track courtesy of Mya, Edwin McCain’s first, last and only meal ticket, “I’ll Be,” and some asthmatic named Josh Kelley’s crapped-up version of Dylan’s “To Make You Feel My Love.” Sorry, Hilary… you seem like a swell girl and all, but you seriously need to look into getting some new musical friends.