A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that there's one incidence of the word "ass" -- and the usual party-girl innuendo abounds. It's not as racy as her last album, In This Skin, which celebrated her well-publicized marriage.
What's the story?
Jessica Simpson wants us to love her, and in some ways she's pretty lovable. She's gorgeous, of course, in that classic blonde American Beauty way. Plus her support system includes production and engineering professionals who know how to get the best out of a room full of musicians. And she has a pretty voice that grows just a bit stronger and more confident with each album released. Yet, as A PUBLIC AFFAIR shows, Simpson appears to have very little actual musical taste, and no one in her pantheon of producers seems willing to tell her.
Is it any good?
Public Affair is yet another example of Simpson's all-over-the-road approach to music. It wanders from disco-driven danceable to swing and then sort-of-country and bland pop, with no sense of cohesiveness or sequencing. The lyrics are frothy and forgettable, filled with party-girl adventures and sexy innuendo. By now (her fifth album), you'd think she'd have a sense of direction, but as it is, she's a very pretty girl with a nice voice who would be more successful sticking to the basics -- the fun, upbeat, engaging pop candy her fans adore -- as long as the material is written by others.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the two Simpson families in contemporary pop culture. Would you rather hang out with Jessica and Ashlee, or Homer, Marge, Bart, and Lisa? Why? Seriously, there's not all that much on this CD to talk about, except maybe how and why originality is more fun and exciting. Why is a creative vision necessary for an artist to find a focus? Families can also talk about what the album implies about her very public breakup.