There's something about working for Disney that makes its female actors and singers go from wholesome, G-rated characters to highly sexual and rebellious individuals as soon as they can.  Ashley Tisdale had wrapped up her work on the High School Musical series -- and had her first solo album, Headstrong -- when she released her sophomore album, Guilty Pleasure.

Tisdale tips her hand about this album in the first song when she sings "No, I don't think it matters/ if it's just real or just a role."  Tisdale was in her mid-20s when Guilty Pleasure was released, yet Tisdale takes on the role of a rebellious teen in almost every song.  The opening song, "Acting Out," has Tisdale proclaiming her independence and wild side by, well, acting out.  There are songs about dating and infatuation ("Hair," "Masquerade"), songs about dumping a lousy boyfriend ("It's Alright, It's Okay," Delete You"), songs showing her naughty sexy side ("Hot Mess," "Crank It Up"), and a wrap-up (before the bonus tracks) romantic power ballad ("Me without You").  The lyrics are as generic as the themes, and Tisdale's vocals don't stand out.

The most interesting thing about Guilty Pleasure is the frequent theme of deception.  There's the quote above about not caring if it's real or a role, the desire to be lied to rather than dumped ("Tell Me Lies,") and the false faces worn in "Masquerade."   But this is never developed, and Guilty Pleasure is just another standard album of a pseudo-teen trying too hard to act out.

Overall grade: C-
Reviewed by James Lynch


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