A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this is a country-esque album from the famous pop princess that's suitable for most young listeners. It does cover a few mature themes: waking up next to a presumed lover and a recount of a boyfriend using hurtful words and pushing his girlfriend "just enough to hurt a little bit" (the song urges women to get out of the abusive relationship, though). Several tracks also talk about having your heart broken.
What's the story?
Jessica Simpson received a lot of media attention and skepticism for her debut attempt at crossing over to the country music genre. Having spent a decade on the pop scene, it seems she's ready to return to her country roots. For DO YOU KNOW, the Texas native hooked up with Nashville producers, songwriters, and even one of her idols, Dolly Parton. The album covers a few mature themes, including a boyfriend using hurtful words and pushing his girlfriend and having your heart broken.
Is it any good?
Despite the baggage of a reality show and multiple public flubs, Simpson has managed to produce a surprisingly likable album. From the beginning, Simpson's voice is confident with an unexpected depth, which is exemplified on "You're My Sunday." Sometimes the country styling goes a little over-the-top, like on "Sipping on History" -- an oddly titled track in which Simpson overdoes on the Western accent. But even this song is saved by sweet lyrics like "We could have had a big trampoline/kids running 'round the yard/Superman and Barbie cars/we could've had that kind of love." The second half of the album loses this simplistic edge and moves more into pop abstracts; however, it's saved with the last track "Do You Know," featuring Dolly Parton. Maybe the best thing about this album isn't its country flair, but the use of country sensibilities, the incorporation of homey metaphors, and down-to-earth themes that makes this album so comforting to listen to.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how an artist can re-invent themselves. How much do things such as fashion, music videos, and album art affect the way you view an artist. How did you describe Simpson before she introduced this country album? How would you describe her now? Do you think it's easy to change musical genres once you're famous, or does it still require a lot of time and practice?