Heidi Montag: Superficial (Album Review)

by Bradley Stern

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, it’s not their own money, but I’ve actually gone broke putting every dollar I’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.

Just kidding.

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.

  • http://www.shanparker.com Shan

    This is a wonderful summation of everything I already assumed as I refuse to listen to any of it. I despise her and Spencer.

  • RJ

    Thank you.

  • Coty

    Finally a good review. haha. I thought this album was self-titled also. It is a sad that some of the songs could have been real hits for real singers. I guess they will be lost. Video didn’t kill this radio star. She just plain murdered music.

  • steve

    i am sad, i stand alone. i haven’t stopped listening to this album for enough time to pause and shake my own head at myself. it’s fucking chaos in here.

  • Adam

    wow – so much potential here if there was any talent behind these songs. Much like a Rosie Odonnell album (sans the charitable purpose), the singing is brutal. It makes me appreciate other singers who I thought were talented. It also makes me hate myself a little bit.

  • Adam

    “makes me appreciate other singers who I thought were UNtalented” my bad

  • http://fabtasticmusic.blogspot.com Aaron

    That’s a little harsh!!! I’m actually looking forward too it – I’ll stick with Steve, at least in Spirit, for now!

  • Victoria

    embarrassing and truly horrible, but in a weird, weird way i kind of like it. it’s wrong, i know.

  • http://www.muumuse.com Bradley Stern

    Just to clarify, I’ve been listening to this all week. It IS terrible…and delicious.

  • GAh

    theres a reason why this girl never secured a record deal, someone with half a brain would realize that theres a reason for that. Forking 2 mill on the album is something she is going to regret so much.
    Comparing her album to thriller was so offensive for me, and just shows how deluded this girl is.
    I despise spencer pratt, that guy is just the enabler and if not even more deluded.

  • GagaLuver

    Listening to this cd I only liked 2 songs, “turn your head” and “look how im doing”… its true her singing is horrible I could compare it to ke$ha’s vocals… horrible

  • Alicia

    On the one hand, I don’t mind reading about a hypocrite getting shredded, but, on the other hand, I’m not too thrilled with your sexist language. For all her faults, Montag is a human being with feelings and intelligence. The bimbo label is just the same old same old that we here about women to criticize them on their looks.

    Montag is on the cover of People magazine this week because of the multiple plastic surgeries she felt obliged to undergo to be perceived as socially acceptable even though she was already beautiful. While Montag may not be an innocent, she is the victim of our society’s harsh treatment of women that forces many to suffer because they don’t meet an impossible standard of beauty.

    Attack her singing but layoff her looks.

  • Maggi

    Beyond sad . .

  • Michael M.

    I feel like I’m losing my mind but I have this album on replay on myspace and I may actually go buy a physical copy! Heidi is growing on me, as much as I can’t believe it. I sympathize with her after interviews with Al roker and their humiliating endeavor on “…get me outta here” and she is not completely stupid…she’s tenacious

  • Michael M.

    oh yeah it’s only digital

  • t

    Heidi appears to want to follow in Michael Jackson steps by using all the same people and by getting all that plastic on her face.

  • http://icansingtoo.com k
  • Kalee

    I think it sounds just like the Brittnay Spears album, Blackout. I think she tried to hard to sound like someone else. Although when you listen to it the beat of the music and the vocal touch up sound just like Brit! I think she should make this album hers!!!

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/art1ej art1e

    Hahahahaha after hearing her on that celeb show trying to sing i wont even bother here,she has no talent but if she wants to sell go to disney they have miley & all those crappy no talents….
    or go the britney way shes also another no talent mimer who cant sing……boring…

  • http://www.twitter.com/michaelwardlaw1 Michael

    If I’m honest, I actually like Heidi Montag,
    i’m not too keen on Spencer, but the coulple
    make the show what it is, now Lauren’s gone.
    And, her music’s actually good. Only thing is,
    where is “Body Language”, “No More” and “Fashion”
    on the album, listen to those 3 on youtube…
    …Your opinon may change.
    Furthermore, who are we to critisize, or laugh at,
    she’s doing something right, she’s rolling in the money,
    and earns more in a year than we do likely in a lifetime.

    …I just speak the truth!
    Athough, she didn’t need any of that surgery,
    she was gorgeouss before.

  • http://joey-nation.blogspot.com Joey Sauer

    This is my favourite album in ages! It’s so good, and regardless of singing talent/song writing abilities etc… at the end of the day, it’s a pleasure to listen and dance to.

  • just

    wtf is rong with u haters!?!?!?!?!? I LOVE THIS ALBUM!!!! I LOVE HEIDI MONTAG!!!!!! Shes pure awsumness and so is this album!!!! I really look fwd to sum new work from her maybe a tour some callobarations idk but FUCK U HATERZ!!! WHOOOOOOOOOO HEIDI MONTAG!!!!!!!!!!!

  • http://twitter.com/Ali8923 Ali Al-Hajamy

    I listened to one song from the album, the title track, and was promptly reminded of why I do not listen to this type of music or care about mainstream media. This is terrible, useless, and, well, superficial. In essance, she talks about all the people who gossip and talk about her, and the papperazi, and basically says something along the lines of, “Well, you’re just jealous because I’m better than you!” That’s a paraphrase, of course, but consider the following lyrics:
    They say Im superficial
    Some call me a bitch
    They just mad cause
    Im sexy, famous and Im rich
    I rock the latest fashions
    And I set the latest trends
    Girls say Im conceited
    Cause they really wanna be me

    Look at those two lines at the end. She says that people say that she’s conceded, as if she was going to disprove this claim, then immedietly does the exact opposite by saying that the people who think she’s conceded just want to be her. This is ridiculous, I hate it, I hate her and people like her, she is a vacuous, empty-headed piece of shit, and I hope her career goes right down the drain. Or rather, that’s what I hope right now. But once I’m done writing this, I will most likely forget about her and her ilk, and go listen to real music by real artists who deserve my attention and appreciation.

  • dominic

    It’s truly the marvel of technology and all the production artists! the only thing that heidi did was to fund the album, basically paying songwriters to write songs that tell stories about herself (or her ideal view of herself) and pay great sound engineers to polish the stone into a diamond of a big mainstream music album.

    I agree it’s not a train wreck, but seriously, we should credit those songwriters and sound engineers. and maybe credit heidi for funding and being a poser

  • horsefacemidgetskank

    ugh …she’s disgustin…sickening…

  • K Poms

    What a piece of garbage this girl and her album are. She ought to be ashamed. Stupid c*nt!

  • JCF523

    This album is honestly one of the greatest pop albums in history, regardless of talent…super underrated. I’m literally still obsessed with this album. Heidi was smart in choosing her songs and producers. Even if she can’t sing…that was a pretty smart, artist-y thing to do. Bitch obviously did her research and had it not been for Spencer, I think it would’ve paid off. Although, if not for Spencer…we may have never had this album lol. So I’m not sure how to feel other than obsessed with the album and aggravated with the general public for not just listening to the music and just judging the person prior…good music is good music, people!
    I mean, even Kim Kardashian’s song is kinda good……..

  • JCF523

    You’re “realization” is the entire point of the song. It’s meant to be contradictory and tongue-in-cheek. Like duh.