January 13, 2010
Heidi Montag: Superficial (Album Review)
It’s difficult to appreciate Heidi Montag as a human being.
At first glance, she isn’t much more than your typical blonde bimbo socialite; a plastic Barbie making bank from a talentless role on a “reality” show gallivanting around L.A. to fill the narcissistic need for attention like a spray-tanned crack addict with a flesh-color beard creeper of a husband.
But there’s another side to her–a weird one: Her personality is fragmented and strange, bouncing from the hyperbolic fame whore staging fake, elaborate photo-ops for the paparazzi and claiming her album to be on par with Michael Jackson‘s Thriller, to the self-effacing, D-List embracing character portrayed in “Overdosin’,” to a pseudo born-again conservative Christian spouting off 140-characters-or-less bible verses on Twitter with one hand and signing off on photo stills for her Playboy spread with the other.
Not unlike Sarah Palin, Heidi Montag is either a comedic genius or an air-headed blowhole. It is possible that she may be a combination of both. For a while, I thought she could be the Antichrist.
And now, after endless unnecessary EP releases and a doofy, worm-like performance at the 2009 Miss Universe Pageant that seemed like a PG reinterpretation of Britney‘s 2000 VMA performance, we have Superficial, a gift that truly keeps on giving.
One couldn’t stand to write a review of Superficial without first exploring the “vocals”: The work done on Heidi’s voice is, if nothing else, astounding. While many rich, socialite brats and mega pop stars–yes, even my beloved Britney!–are no strangers to Auto-Tune (I’ve been told that the pitch correction for Paris Hilton‘s debut took over eight months alone), Heidi’s digital reconstruction is downright impressive.
It seems that not only can Heidi not sing (at all), but that the engineers couldn’t even stand to allow an instance of her true voice on the album without first melting it down with pitch-assisting, machine sound for a single second. At least Paris Hilton could command a lazy, if not a slightly sultry whisper: Heidi doesn’t even get the option of breathing on this mess.
That being said, Heidi spent a reported cool $2 million on this album to get the finest in the industry, and that she did: With songwriting credits from Cathy Dennis, Steve Morales and Chris Rojas, Superficial has a slew of songs that are well-written and, in theory, are quite good.
“Look How I’m Doing” and “Turn Ya Head” are delicious guilty pleasures, providing thick, dance-worthy synths piled atop Montag’s verses to the point where the lyrics are barely intelligable. Further on, “More is More” is about as close to a genuine hit as Heidi comes on the album, meshing a naughty chorus (“More is more on the dancefloor, it’s fucking chaos in here”) with a vaguely addictive synthesized beat.
“Twisted” is another delight, reveling in Montag’s toilet paper-thin delivery and manic, computer-controlled pitch changes. It’s actually a pretty well-written song–its only downfall being that it wasn’t released by a real artist first.
In her riskiest move (can I really call it that?), Heidi takes the already hypocrisy-ridden ‘Christian’ side of her persona and drives her values even deeper into the ground with “I’ll Do It.” The song, a slinkier reaction to the album’s mostly hasty offerings, features a handful of awkward come-ons meant to sound enticing (a failed attempt), while simultaneously presenting the album’s greatest lyrics: “I brought some treats / I know that you gon love em /Come eat my panties off of me.”
There are some hilarious, just-plain-bad numbers as well, including “My Parade,” which includes a farty marching band stomp and a truly hellacious set of lyrics about being defiant and young. Picture a balloon slowly deflating while being held by a sad, crying clown–that’s “My Parade” in visual form.
Heidi’s oft-published delusions of grandeur help to solidify this album’s non-genius genius, as in this morsel from EW:
“Most artists, itâ€™s not their own money, but Iâ€™ve actually gone broke putting every dollar Iâ€™ve ever made and my heart and soul into this music. For me, I have a different appreciation, a different understanding, and a different love of my music and for my album than any other artist possibly could.”
If that’s the case–if we are to believe that Heidi’s heart and soul are found here in these songs (none of which having been penned or even co-penned by herself), you’ll learn nothing that you haven’t already on the cover of Star Magazine, aside from the fact that she wears edible undies from time to time.
To be blunt, I don’t think Heidi knows who Heidi is. Fake and real seem to be distinctions that serve no purpose in Heidi’s blurred perception of the world. How she actually wishes to be perceived is an even deeper mystery. She is superficial, and superficiality may be her only reality. So really, the album is actually quite personal and deep when you think about it.
For tongue-in-cheek pop flop enthusiasts like myself, Superficial is truly a goldmine: In all honesty, it’s a fun album. She’s a terrible singer, but there’s a certain cheeky, camp appeal to the whole ordeal.
Surprisingly hooky, hilariously bad and devoid of vocal talent, Superficial is not, as most would expect, an utter train-wreck…it’s just a good ol’ shit show.