There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
A 25-year-old Greek shipping-heir devouring, Lindsay Lohan–dissing, homemade-porno-starring walking ego won’t settle for less than the best, and for her debut album, Paris Hilton hired hotshot producer Scott Storch (50 Cent and Beyoncé) and songwriting sorceress Kara DioGuardi (Hilary Duff and, um, Lindsay Lohan). Storch keeps the beats light and bouncy, and Hilton sticks mainly to a grunty, whiny delivery that she clearly thinks is très hot. How hot? “I’m hot to death” she breathes, just like she does on the album opener, “Turn It Up.” “That’s hot,” she squeaks, “Scott Storch.” Surprisingly, despite the fact that most of the tunes are glossy rip-offs of past Top 10 smashes—“Turn It Up” bites Britney’s “Slave 4 U”; “Heartbeat” slyly takes a few steps from Gwen’s “Cool”—a handful of the tunes on Paris aren’t too bad. The breezy reggae-pop of first single “Stars Are Blind” screams song of the fall, and DioGuardi’s “Screwed” is stronger, its smooth, catchy melody augmented by tight harmonies. Though industry insiders sniped at Paris’ first-week sales, to date about 130,000 people have hopped on the Paris train, a figure that pales in comparison to real pop divas’ sales but isn’t too shabby for a socialite. Perhaps potential fans were lured by the way Hilton larded the album with songs casting her as irresistible temptress. “I’m so, so, so sexy!” she explains on “Fightin’ Over Me.” “The club’s not hot until I walk through,” she boasts on “Turn You On.” And then there’s her excruciating cover of Rod Stewart’s “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy,” complete with a sax solo worthy of Billy Joel. If we say we do, will she finally sing about something else? Rumors that former Go-Go Jane Wiedlin sang most of Hilton’s parts are given space to roam in the many blended voices on every track, which often sound like they’ve been sung by an army of Roberto Cavalli–clad heiresses breathily mouthing lyrics such as “You’d be living in a dream if you were waking up next to me.” But that’s hardly the point—just like when Hilton tried her manicured hand at acting and fashion designing, Paris is merely a demonstration of her cultural capital, not an attempt at vocal greatness. Paris burns through a lot of that inheritance with half-wit lyrics and too-familiar backing tracks, but it’s got enough juice to boost the temperature a few degrees.—Caryn Ganz