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Formula for Hilton is simplicity itself

The cheap shot going around about the breathless musical debut of Paris, Pop Star, is that with the likes of producers and songwriters Scott Storch, Kara DioGuardi and J.R. Rotem at the helm, your grandmother could get a hit single.

But after an honest listen to the 11 songs on her dance-minded album, the reality -- and the house of Paris is built on reality, albeit reality TV and videotape -- is “Book that studio, Granny!”

Paris haters may be disappointed to discover that “Paris” (in stores today) isn’t truly awful. That’s the grandma factor at work. With infectious beats and hooky sonic textures established by the hit-laden pros surrounding her, all Hilton has to bring to the party is, well, Paris.

Her wispy voice, frequently double- or multitracked to create the illusion of substance, can make Betty Boop seem like Streisand. Her primary role model seems to be Gwen Stefani at her fluffiest, and the guiding musical principle here is the time-honored “KISS” -- keep it simple, stupid.

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Melodies rarely extend beyond four- and five-note motifs uttered repeatedly, creating little demand on a voice with little to offer. Themes are equally basic: Paris is sexy, Paris knows she’s sexy, Paris wants everyone in the known universe to revel in her sexitude. Most songs are content to feed action on a dance floor with an inordinate amount of sonorous low frequencies, again to simulate musical heft.

Her single “Stars Are Blind,” however, brings a hint of a musical identity to the mix. This catchy reggae-lite tune gives listeners more than a groove to latch onto with its Blondie-esque “The Tide Is High” pulse and endearing melody, and she projects vulnerability credibly.

The only truly authoritative vocals turn up in guest raps from Fat Joe and Jadakiss on the uber-egocentric “Fightin’ Over Me.” On her own, she coos (“I Want You”), she purrs (“Turn You On”), she preens (remaking the Rod Stewart hit “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy” -- wasn’t once more than enough?), she pouts (“Jealousy”).

Like cotton candy, the food group she most resembles, what may seem like a mouthful for a moment is gone in the blink of an eye, leaving a sweet aftertaste and empty calories behind.

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-- Randy Lewis

Albums are rated on a scale of four stars (excellent), three stars (good), two stars (fair) and one star (poor).


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