By "it," of course, I mean "released an album so bland and overproduced it makes Aly and AJ look like groundbreakers." Her debut offering, V, was a total snoozefest, and Identified is no different. Check out the video for the first single:
What I find completely fascinating about this is what V is doing with her voice. Normally the Hudge has a piping, chirpy little soprano, with a tendency towards a breathy delivery on her non-HSM songs (and of course every note she sings goes straight through her nose, which should have been beaten out of her by her vocal coach years ago, but whatcha gonna do?). But listen to her wail (well, "wail") on this one! She's doing her utmost to sound like a grownup, getting some Christina in there, some Aretha, some big girl voices going on!
And, well, it doesn't actually work. Because Vanessa Hudgens is a tiny pixie made of spun sugar, a dollop of meringue in a sundress, and meringue cannot wail. But by gosh, she's giving it the old
It is nice to see her being allowed to be non-Caucasian, after the atrocity of her makeup in HSM2, where they apparently attempted to powder away her natural color, despite the shrieking orangeosity of Zef and Tizz. (I originally referred to this as "flouring" her face, but after Camp Rock went whole hog and had its Latina heroine actually stick her face in a bag of flour, I guess I'll have to stop calling it that.) Also, check the sexuality going on here! I guess once you're naked on the internet you can strut your be-sneakered gams down darkened streets with impunity.
Anyhoodle, the entire album vacillates between this attempt at Big Girl Voice and our usual squeaky robot Vanessa. There's very little that's stand-out good or stand-out bad; it pretty much all falls on a spectrum of "mediocre" to "mildly crappy," with a couple of minor exceptions. "Paper Cut" sticks out at me because it makes me a little concerned for the Hudge: "Your love hurts like a paper cut, so sweet/ Never even feel the slice, it's so deep…" But for my money the What the Hell Award goes to "Party on the Moon," which includes not only the word "astrologic," but also the astonishing phrase "Milky Way hotties." Nice one, V.
(I have to say, though, that looking over online lyrics to this album, I feel a bit gypped that I don't live in Japan. Over in the Land of the Rising Sun they get gems like "Set It Off." Not only does it appear to be about Vanessa's high-tech chastity belt, it contains lines like "Now bend over like Houdini/ And there's no key/ You gotta pick the lock." I'm not entirely sure what that means, but I know it's dirty!)
In conclusion, Baby V continues to run a C average - passing, but nothing to write home about. Better luck next time, Sneaks!