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Identified

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Album Review

Ever savvy, Disney started launching the post-High School Musical careers of the franchise's stars while it was still in full swing by having Ashley Tisdale and Vanessa Hudgens make albums with a more mature sound than most Radio Disney fare. Hudgens' debut album, V, was her first step toward a less overtly Disney-affiliated career: released by the studio's Hollywood label, it used Christina Aguilera's soulful pop as a template; even if its songs were a bit faceless, they had surprisingly sophisticated production values. Almost two years passed between V and its follow-up, Identified. That's a long time in Disney terms, especially considering how quickly they release anything related to star attractions like High School Musical. Identified isn't drastically different from V — Hudgens still sings about love, dancing, and hanging with her girls, and once again, the production outclasses the songs and the singing. With work by Kasz Money's Doctor Luke, Benny Blanco, and J.R. Rotem, the album sounds more playful, more elaborate, and trendier than it has to: "Last Night" builds from a bouncing beat into whispered backing vocals, acoustic slide guitar licks, and warm electric pianos, while "First Bad Habit" segues from chugging electric guitars to breathy electro-pop and back again. Borrowing from Gwen Stefani, Nelly Furtado, Fergie, and Rihanna, Identified plays like a simulation of a state-of-the-art pop album. However, strangely for an album named Identified, these songs skip from sound to sound, hoping that some of them will stick. Hudgens just doesn't have the presence or pipes to pull off a hip-hop-tinged dancefloor anthem like "Hook It Up" or an intimate ballad like "Paper Cut," which feels like a Disneyfied version of Leona Lewis' "Bleeding Love." The best moments here turn Hudgens' weaknesses into strengths: her vocals aren't powerful, but they are malleable, perfect for tweaking into fembot pop like "Amazed" and the title track. Though there are a couple of truly strange moments here that may or may not be intentionally campy, such as "Party on the Moon" and "Sneakernight," which features lyrics like "Did you eat?" and a surprisingly good Aguilera impersonation from Hudgens, there are also a couple of genuinely impressive moments: "Did It Ever Cross Your Mind" could be a legitimate pop hit, and the slightly jazzy "Gone with the Wind" makes her transition from Disney star to a more mature singer more convincing. Despite a few stumbles, Identified achieves its goal: it anticipates that Hudgens' fans will outgrow High School Musical soon enough, and gives her a better chance of staying relevant to them as they move on to other kinds of pop music.

Customer Reviews

Props for Trying New Things

Rating: 3.25 / 5
Highlights: "Identified", "First Bad Habit", "Don't Leave"

This is the second album from Vanessa Hudgens. The first thing I want to say is that she has definitely branched out in her music, giving a unique genre mashup experience you don't hear very often. Her voice is decent, and matches up to the songs well. I particularly thought she did a good job on "Last Night"; she sings more like a jazz singer than a pop singer.

Personally, I think that Vanessa's problem on this CD is the shotgun approach to the genres. Although collectively the CD sounds fine, none of the songs really stood out to me. This might be due to a limitation placed on her by the record company, or it might be a weakness in Vanessa's writing. Either way, I'd only get this album if you really enjoyed her first album. Or if you're in love with Vanessa.

I have both versions of this album!

1. Last Night- The opening song sounds really nasally and whiney in her part.
2. Identified- The best song on this album, I love the beat and the photographs taken.
3. First Bad Habit- Not so good it gets annoying after a minute into the song.
4. Hook It Up- Great beat and opening BUT the song is slow moving not dancey enough.
5. Don't Ask Why- Its too poppy for me especially with all the synthesizers on her voice.
6. Sneakernight- its pretty good repetative but the 3rd most good song on the album.
7. Amazed- I love this song its cute and the beat saves the song her voice is too robotic Lil Mama makes an appearance.
8. Don't Leave- This song is cute since Jesse McCartney co-wrote it but the "sometime to connect" gets annoying.
9. Papercut- Really cute its a disneyfied version of Bleeding Love.
10. Party On The Moon- The beat and lyrics are great its totally dancing worth.
11. Did It Ever Cross Your Mind- Least favorite song skip it.
12. Gone With The Wind- Cute ballad but the "Gone Shes Gone Gone" is just plain blahh.
Bonus Tracks:
13. Committed- Great song saves the album!
14. Vulnerable- The slowness makes the song good but not great the beat eventually annoys you.
15. Set It Off- My actually favorite song in the whole album the beat, lyrics, backround actually make it my favorite song!

Hmmm

These days Vanessa Hugends voice makes me extremely mad b/c it's whiney too high pichted and annoying but the other divas that I listen to right now have very beautiful voices especially Mariah Carey who has always been a favorite of mine but Vanessa Hudgends not so much anymore b/c for the songs she just sounds whiney and annoying plus she did not sing good in High School Musical at all Celine Dion is soooooo much better than her :(

Biography

Born: December 14, 1988 in Salinas, CA

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Best known as Gabrielle Montez from the hit Disney Channel movie and soundtrack album High School Musical, actress/singer Vanessa Anne Hudgens has also appeared on Drake & Josh and The Sweet Life of Zack and Cody. Born in Salinas, CA, and raised in San Diego, Hudgens began performing at an early age, appearing in musicals starting at age eight, and moved to Los Angeles after winning an audition for a commercial. After moving to England to study drama and music at Kingsbrook Business and Enterprise...
Full Bio
Identified, Vanessa Hudgens
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