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In This Skin

Jessica Simpson

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Album Review

Out of all the teen pop thrushes of the late '90s/early 2000s, Jessica Simpson was perhaps the oddest. Not because she was genuinely strange — especially compared to Christina or Pink — but because she never seemed that comfortable with the genre. On her debut, Sweet Kisses, that awkwardness could be written off as first-time jitters, particularly because the album boasted the dynamite single "I Think I'm in Love," which is about as perfect as pop gets. On her second album, Irresistible, her awkwardness could be attributed to either the fabled sophomore slump or the fact that she was being tarted up too much, presented as a sexy tease when she's really just the sweet, curvy girl next door. Now, for her third album, In This Skin, she tones down the trashy club beats and image, staying within the contemporary dance-pop realm while inching toward the middle-of-the-road diva that she's always yearned to be. And that's the key to Simpson and her records — apart from that brief, brilliant moment on "I Think I'm in Love," she's never seemed like she's wanted to sing pop music. She's somebody who would have been much more comfortable in an era where she could have been produced by Mitch Miller, not somebody who half-heartedly sings moderately stylish, overly calculated dance-pop. Simpson is not a bad singer, and only when she's given a show-stopping ballad in the vein of Celine Dion can she really strut her skills. The heart of In This Skin is in the mature middle of the road, while its sound is still pitched young. Simpson is still a sweet, photogenic girl with a good voice, and in her favor, as she gets further removed from her teens, she will be allowed to do more mature material — and this CD is a tentative step in that direction.

Biography

Born: 10 July 1980 in Dallas, TX

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Although Jessica Simpson dabbled in film, reality TV, and eventually contemporary country music during the 2000s, she is best known as a dance-pop vocalist who rose to fame in the late '90s alongside such teenaged acts as 98°. Simpson was born and raised in Dallas, TX, where she began her performing career as a member of her church choir; at 12, she also auditioned unsuccessfully for The Mickey Mouse Club. While attending church camp the following summer, Simpson was discovered by the head of a tiny...
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In This Skin, Jessica Simpson
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