From time to time, we like to round up the all-important, all-summarizing last sentences of the biggest new-music reviews. After the jump, we look at other publications’ reactions to Jessica Simpson’s Dolly Parton-assisted foray into country music, Do You Know.
• “Could Simpson pull off what Bon Jovi and Jewel have failed to do and make a good country album? Alas, no. Despite a title track tailored for her by Dolly Parton (who sings harmonies on the just-OK tune), Do You Know is otherwise undistinguished, forgettable and no better or worse than the average formulaic Carrie Underwood CD. Download the single.” [Miami Herald]
• “Her struggle is most striking on the title track, written by Dolly Parton, who shows up to harmonize with Simpson. It’s sweet enough when Simpson delivers the first verse, about a woman who’s grateful for the connection she feels with the man she loves, but as soon as Parton joins in, the voltage increase is palpable. The gap between novice and master couldn’t be clearer.” [LAT]
• “A Public Affair, Simpson’s 2006 disc, was a frothy pop misfire. But she included a subdued cover of Patty Griffin’s ‘Let Him Fly’ that showcased her country leanings and hinted at untapped potential. (Check out the raw emotion she brings to a live rendition on YouTube.) Maybe Simpson should enlist Griffin and Parton for her next country outing. It would be a nice surprise to hear her breathe life into stronger, more original material than Do You Know‘s mostly generic Nashville flavor.” [Houston Chronicle]
• “But she avoids references to anything rural: shockingly there isn’t one mention of her Texas roots here. Rather this is an album that assiduously avoids specificity. For a pop singer seeking refuge in country music it’s a smart move. It doesn’t seem as if she’s trying too hard, when of course she totally is.” [NYT]