If you’re under 18, it’s possible you’re over familiar with the work of Lindsay Lohan. Star of a string of passable Disney films in the mid-90s, such as The Parent Trap, she’s extended her range recently in the truly terrific Mean Girls. However, a decent actress does not a decent singer make, and so it’s with trepidation that one approaches her debut album, Speak.
Other actresses have been down this route before Lohan. Jennifer Love Hewitt made a succession of albums a few years ago which made one yearn for another I Know What You Did Last Summer movie, and Lohan’s arch-rival Hilary Duff has also released an album of fluffy pop. Compared to her two fellow actresses, Speak isn’t that bad. Yet it’s certainly no masterpiece.
Basically, if you’re after an album of sub-Avril Lavigne songs, with a few more funky, Jennifer Lopez-style tracks thrown in for good measure, then step this way. Lohan’s voice, while certainly not the strongest around, stays in tune and is pretty much suited to the material here.
However, it’s the material which is the main problem here. Opening track First has a catchy little guitar riff, but the tune is overwhelmed by an over-produced FM Rock sheen. Other tracks fare better, such as Nobody Till You, with its soaring chorus, while Over is actually rather good, being reminiscent of artists such as Michelle Branch.
Yet Lohan is badly let down by the album’s lyrics. Symptons Of You actually rhymes ‘Moon’ with ‘June’ with no discernable sense of irony whatsoever and Disconnected (a song with no less than 7 writers credited to it, would you believe) includes lyrical gems such as “dysfunctionally sane, don’t give a damn/I can’t comprehend what I understand”.
The best track on the album by far is Rumors – a fact that record label Island obviously recognise as it’s included here in both it’s original format and in a remixed version at the end of the album. It’s a feisty dance anthem with intelligent lyrics attacking the paparazzi and press in general – it’s the sort of thing that would probably resurrect Britney Spears‘ career if she wasn’t so intent on turning herself into a car crash.
Rumors is also a welcome break from the over-produced soft rock that dominates the album – the title track too has a more palatable dance direction that suits Lohan much better than the Ashlee Simpson soundalikes prevelant here.
With Mariah Carey‘s ex-husband Tommy Mottola listed as Executive Producer, there’s obviously a heavyweight team behind Lindsay Lohan. She looks cute enough on the album inlay and her target audience of pre-teen and teenage girls will no doubt lap this up. For everyone else, Speak is a case of ‘stick to the day job’.