It should come as no surprise that Jessica Simpson’s once eloquent voice isn’t her trademark anymore. It’s bogged down with tabloid fodder. Her ditzy blonde persona. And a highly publicized break-up with hunk Nick Lachey.
So, it should also come as no surprise that Simpson’s fourth album “A Public Affair” is slightly better than a fifth grade talent show.
Airy lead single “A Public Affair” isn’t half bad, although it lacks the spark tailored by the women who ignited it. It’s a little bit of Diana Ross’ “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” but heavy on the Madonna “Holiday” influence. Simpson’s producer – her father, Joe Simpson – continues the streak of uninspired tunes, like the ’80s remake of “You Spin Me Round (Like A Record), or he chooses material that’s stuck in the muck. Such is the case with the amateurishly written “I Don’t Want To Care.”
“So I don’t wanna care about love/No, I don’t wanna care about us/I don’t wanna care at all anymore/I used to only care a little bit/But now I care way too much,” Simpson sings. That song, mind you, was written by eight – yes, eight – people, including Simpson.
While the ballad “Back To You” and second single “I Belong To Me” are pleasant, the laughable “Push Your Tush,” a Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis production (who have worked with Janet Jackson), and “B.O.Y.” are setbacks. A remake of folk singer Patty Griffin’s “Let Him Fly” (previously covered by the Dixie Chicks, and to much better emotional effect) is the album’s saving grace – although it lacks the wrenching heartache given by Griffin. It’s sad, also, when the tune Simpson bawled to after her fall out with Lachey is about the only lively tune on a set void of much creativity.