Monday, February 05, 2007

I Am So Totally "Over It"

Today's new brand of smart, confident, self-assured solo teenpop female artist isn't bogged down by guy issues. Maybe the guy strung them along or hurt them at one point, but by now they are completely over it. How do I know this? They can't stop telling us! All three of the major solo female teenpop albums this year (maybe I'm missing some, but these are the only three I know of) contain songs called "Over It": Katharine McPhee by Katharine McPhee (in fact, "Over It" is the lead single on this album), Headstrong by Ashley Tisdale, and No Ordinary Girl by Jordan Pruitt. In this post, I will review all 3 songs.

The Artist: Katharine McPhee, runner up on season five of American Idol, whose debut album Katharine McPhee, featuring lead single "Over It", was released in January 2007.
Songwriters: Josh Alexander, Billy Steinberg, Ruth-Anne Cunningham
She's Totally Over...: The pain she felt over a guy who leads her on while not ever really having feelings for her.

The Song: Alexander, Steinberg, and Cunningham were the exact same trio who wrote Jojo's "Too Little, Too Late" (my #14 single of 2006), and it's good to see them branch out into new and different things. Because this song is totally different, and nothing at all alike that Jojo hit. OK, clearly, as even the most casual observer could tell, the two songs are very, very similar. Kat was my favorite on American Idol 5, and not JUST because of her looks, I thought she was a great singer too. Her voice sounds a bit lifeless and generic on record, which is disappointing, and it's shrouded in electronic effects in the chorus, which I wish they hadn't done. Nevertheless, it's got a great melody, and that "Too Little Too Late" formula just works so well that it can drive at least a few more great songs. Lyrics are a bit generic, actually somewhat like a toothless Kelly Clarkson lyric. But there are some good lines in there. It's the type of song I'm a sucker for, in any event, because rather than go for a bitter "You suck and I'm over you" vibe, it goes for a subtle, wistful "I'm over THE PAIN" vibe, that has a lot of melodrama to it. Now it doesn't quite hit that lyrically, but it definitely hits it musically, which is close enough for me.

Convincingness That She Is, In Fact, Over It: 5/10. She doesn't seem to be singing with very much conviction, and she seems a bit too wistful talking about the old days. Needs a little more time.
Final Rating: 8/10
Listen: Katharine McPhee - "Over It"

The Artist: Ashley Tisdale, who was in The Suite Life of Zack and Cody and then, famously, High School Musical. Her debut album, Headstrong, was released on February 6th, and was surprisingly good. I will post more on the album as a whole later.
The Songwriters: Michael "Smidi" Smith, Ashley Tisdale, Bryan Todd
She's Totally Over...: A cheating boyfriend.

The Song: The song has extremely simple pop accompaniment to it, and is one of the less R&B and more bubblegum songs on Ashley's album. It's also one of the better songs. The central problem to this song is that the verses, bridge, and production are all rather boring without much going on. But, it's got a great chorus, great biting lyrics, and features one of Ashley's best, most assured, vocal performances on the whole album. Lyrically, it's an extremely simple account of ditching a cheating boyfriend for the web of lies, etc., but it does the job and has the right amount of bite to it. OK, but while McPhee's song is about being over the PAIN of being in a bad relationship, Ashley's is about being over the relationship itself. A subtle but key difference. Wimpy lyrics go well with the wistful melody of McPhee's song while the confident melody of this goes well with confident lyrics, so all is right with the world.
Convincingness That She Is, In Fact, Over It: 8/10. Not much doubt here that she's going back to that guy. Whereas I get the impression that McPhee would go running back if that guy ever could show he really can commit, Tisdale doesn't seem to want to go back at all. But, the vocal performance is the slightest bit weak and wavering, so it gets less than full marks.
Final Rating: 7/10. Could have been great, if they had spent more time fleshing the whole thing out.
Listen: Ashley Tisdale - "Over It" <--- For a limited time only! JORDAN PRUITT - "OVER IT" The Artist: Jordan Pruitt, a particular favorite of the TCR, whose initial album No Ordinary Girl was released on February 6, 2007.
The Songwriters: Keith Thomas, Robin Scoffield, Jordan Pruitt
She's Totally Over...: The boyfriend who broke her heart and now wants her back. Not unlike "Gone"

The Song: Like I've come to expect from Jordan Pruitt's songs, this has a nice lyrical content that's a bit more dense than it might seem on first glance. The first verse details the normal problems with the relationships (boyfriend not invested, lying, etc etc), and as that passes and they get into the chorus ("I've had enough and I'm not looking back/I'm over it, I'm over it") it seems very similar to the Tisdale song, a casting off of a bad boyfriend. But in this case, it adds a separate wrinkle, first hinted to in the chorus with the line ("You broke my heart/Gonna break yours back"), which just hints at what's to come, but leaves you wondering. Great line. Then, as the song continues on, they go into how the boyfriend wants her back, and since she's had time to reflect and now realizes he was a crappy boyfriend she's not gonna take him back. You go girl. So once again, it takes a simple concept, complicates it a little, and fills it with great lines. And Jordan is a really great singer, one of the best teenpop singers I've heard in a long, long time. The problem is, as always with non-"Outside Looking In" Thomas/Scoffield/Pruitt songs [EDIT: Actually this one is a Thomas/Kipley/Pruitt song, not Scoffield], with the melody and musicality of the song itself. It's just uninteresting and unoriginal musically. There's a great album inside Jordan, an album full of "Outside Looking In"s, but she needs to unleash it. Else, she'll just be releasing a bunch of near great, songs with great lyrics and performance to them, like this one.
Convincingness That She Is, In Fact, Over It: 10/10. The guy blew his shot. Jordan says so.
Final Rating: 6/10. Not a bad song, by any stretch, but still a bit disappointing
Listen: Jordan Pruitt - "Over It"

I will, of course, keep you apprised of any future female stars who are over things in the future. (Avril has a song called "Get Over It", but it's not exactly the same, and that's a few years ago anyways. Actually, now that I think of it, "Get Over It" and "Over It" are almost opposite titles).

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Blogger J'ason D'luv said...

Love both Katharine's "Over It" and JoJo's "Too Little Too Late" (which actually was my #2 song of 2006!)...

Billy Steinberg also wrote The Veronicas' "When It All Falls Apart," not to mention Cyndi Lauper's "True Colors" and "I Drove All Night", plus Madonna's "Like A Virgin."

11:29 PM  

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