Much like free-market capitalism and the works of James Joyce, High School Musical's Ashley Tisdale is a great polarizing force. While you adults bash the young lady, your kids (and, um, a doughy music critic) celebrate the 24-year-old's moxie and spirit. Her second solo album, Guilty Pleasure, comes out Tuesday. Her new movie, Aliens in the Attic, arrives Friday. That's a whole lot of Tiz coming at you this week. So here are five reasons why she's more than just another vapid Disney doll.
Tisdale is a bad singer.
But here's the thing: Whether she's vamping as HSM's Sharpay "Fabulous" Evans or warbling her bubblicious pop, Tisdale is seldom overproduced and monstrously pitch-tuned. Why? Because unlike, say, Vanessa Hudgens, Tisdale has an actual personality, and it's based on charming imperfection.
Tisdale is a good comedian.
Her deliciously vain Sharpay was the saving grace of the HSM movies. And while gamboling with twins Zack and Cody on the Disney Channel, she proved a slapstick star. I like a girl who can take a pie in the face.
Tisdale's grandfather, Arnold Morris, created the Ginsu knife craze.
Oh, please, don't even pretend that's not cool.
Tisdale is not sleazy.
In a day and age when her Hollywood peers are getting caught on a sex tape or wrapping Ferraris around parking meters, we only see Tisdale on TV and in magazines when she wants us to. Sure, she did give a lap dance to an Obama impersonator, but it was funny and, more important, totally unconvincing.
Tisdale is pretty, but not THAT pretty.
When the star went out and got herself a new schnoz, the rhino-response was vitriolic. But people were upset mainly because we already have enough perfecto Barbies out there. Tiz was cool because she had a giant beak. Although we miss her old honker, she's still unconventionally lovely — a little mousy, a little gangly — a decent message for kids who don't look like Brit-Brit. Of course, if she gets a boob job, she's dead to me.
The Guilty Pleasure Playlist
Okay, huddle up, it's honesty time. This is the second week of Pop Life running in Floridian, so we're still building trust. Yes, I'm a music critic. And yes, I can be snotty in my tastes. And sure, many of you have called to tell me I ruined your breakfast. But let it be known that I'm also a shameless fan of soft hits. Seals and Crofts can stone me for days. England Dan & John Ford Coley? Put me in rehab, baby! So lest you think I'm a no-fun guy, here's my own Guilty Pleasure Playlist. I own every one.
1 After the Lovin',
2 Weekend in New
England, Barry Manilow
3 Theme From the
Greatest American Hero, Joey Scarbury
4 Get Closer,
Seals and Crofts
5 How Do You Keep the Music Playing?
& Patti Austin
6 Meet Me Halfway, Kenny Loggins
7 Endless Love, Lionel Richie & Diana Ross
8 Love Will Keep Us Together, Captain & Tennille
9 The Hungry Years,
10 Yah Mo B There, Michael McDonald & James Ingram
Want to reveal your own guilty pleasures? Go to blogs.tampabay.com/popmusic. Sean can also be reached at email@example.com or (727) 893-8467.
The Dead Weather
In stores: Now
Jack's back: Despite the fact I often have no idea what he's talking about, I really dig Jack White. Whether helming the White Stripes or the Raconteurs, or producing the incandescent likes of Loretta Lynn, the pale Detroiter is a wild dude, a classic-rock guitar grunt reflected in a funhouse mirror. His latest outfit is a psycho-blues trip in which White duets with the Kills' Alison Mosshart, a femme fatale matching his grindy, groiny attack.
Kills, thrills: This is abstract rock 'n' roll, bits of swagger unveiling like a spray of gunfire. White sings, plays drums and produces, but leaves most of the guitar work to Dean Fertita, a buddy from Queens of the Stone Age. Mosshart's cryptic, creepy lyric-writing is dark, stormy, feminine. And yet, there's never any doubt that this is another cool product from Jack's jagged imagination.
Reminds us of: A breakup album . . . with Uzis.
Download this: Treat Me Like Your Mother
Song: Cheer Down
Album: Let It Roll: Songs By George Harrison (EMI)
In stores: Now
When he was Fab: My two favorite Beatles songs are Here Comes the Sun and Something — both on Abbey Road, both by the late George Harrison. Yep, the Quiet One was my guy, a designation that became even sturdier during his solo career. This new 19-track comp is the first to gather his biggest songs in one place — Isn't It a Pity, What Is Life, All Those Years Ago — and it's Krishna-rich and guitar-soaked.
Slide down: Whenever Harrison would get too excited, wife Olivia would exclaim, "Cheer down, big fella!" That puckish phrase would go on to become the title for an underrated anthem, Cheer Down, the end-credits song for Lethal Weapon 2. (It plays as Mel Gibson's Martin Riggs is bullet-riddled but cracking wise.) Co-written with Tom Petty, and co-produced by Jeff Lynne, the song is dark but ultimately uplifting, and features great bursts of Harrison's most heavenly slide work.
Reminds us of: The song features three-fifths of those good-time Traveling Wilburys. Love them.
Song grade: A
Album grade: A