There are many roads to the top of the musical mountain. For some, it is Julliard and years of practicing. For others, it's touring from the back of a battered van across the North of England or the South of America. For some, it's the Mickey Mouse Club. And then there's Ashley Alexandra Dupré. Otherwise known as "Kristin." Otherwise known as the, well, you know what she's known as.... But this is a music review, not a social review. So, what's the story on her musical chops? Like almost a million other Americans, I dropped 98 cents into the internet and got her song, "What We Want." So? I'd say it was worth about 58 cents. Not terrible. Of course it's pulling in the candy for her; by some counts she's a million bucks richer today than she was yesterday. One thing I'll give this gal, she knows how to make people pay for it. (Interesting that she is being represented by Don D. Buchwald, a "New York Lawyer," according to the Associated Press. He may not be the same Don Buchwald who is Howard Stern's agent, but even the fact that they have the same name has a certain poetic justice. But I'm straying, I'm straying.) So, Ashley as artist?
Aretha Franklin doesn't have anything to be worried about.
The tune? It's sincere ughing and grunting. The right oohs at the right places, to a beat that could have been generated from pushing a button on a computer program. In other words, it sounds like most of the ersatz cross-over neo-psuedo hip-hop rap hoo-haa out there. At least to my tin ears.
As for the lyrics? They have a little more appeal. At one point, she seems to call out to her mystery lover, the one she sings (raps) about that she can "see if you're for real." She seems to call this fellow "Boo." I don't know about you, but I find that interesting. Maybe not up there with Bob Dylan, but, well, provocative. Insouciant. Oh, hell, I'm going to have to listen to it again to find the right word. Hold on...
I'm back. Yep. "Would you stay right here, Boo?" Well, it rhymes with true. Actually, on second listen, I kind of like her voice. At least she doesn't do that wiggly wobbly, vocal gymnastic stuff with her voice that Mariah Carey is so fond of doing. Maybe she can't do that. Good.
Boo? Could that be? But I'm straying again... Actually, I wish it were really really bad. It's not. It's not good. It's not bad. But it's in your face. One thing she did -- she cut to the front of the American Idol line. This year's made up celebrity didn't have to endure any of Simon's cowing. Now she's 'toppermost of the poppermost.'
Oh, the title of her "album" (which is only two songs for the moment, though I'm sure they'll have another ten by next Tuesday...) is Unspoken Words. I'm not so sure about Ashley, but I'm sure old Don D. Buchwald is happy that some of those words were finally spoken. - Ken Krimstein
Mr. Krimstein is a writer, cartoonist, father, and grump who lives in New York City. So there.