About You Now (EP)
REVIEW BY: Paul Hanson
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 07/02/2009
Summer, I thought you knew what good music was, courtesy of Jack Black in School Of Rock. You remember Summer, right? The straight-laced little priss who kept Black in check has gone on to her own show (iCarly) on the Disney Channel and has now released an EP, demonstrating her singing ability. Like fellow tween star Ashley Tisdale (of “The Suite Life Of Zach And Cody” and the High School Musical franchise), these Disney stars are making a concentrated effort to redefine themselves as “not just” a Disney icon for the eight- to thirteen-year-old market.
As it turns out, Cosgrove is tackling non-tween material, trying to convince her adult listeners she’s not as young as you might think. She wants to go back in time to a previous point in her relationship with the subject in the disc’s title track since she “knows how I feel about you now.” She sings about how girls “dig rejection” and how she’d rather “rock, that’s how I roll” in “FYI.” Finally, in the third original track on this EP, she spouts on and on about how “you can take the rock out of the roll but you can’t take the party out of the girl” in “Party Girl.” Finally, in “Stay My Baby,” she speculates about being in a long distance relationship when “she’s back at school,” which I infer as being college? So, Cosgrove is tackling adult problems while singing to a tween audience.
Part of Cosgrove’s problem is that she only has four songs on this five song release. Instead of having a stronger effort, with at least five new songs, Cosgrove either didn’t want to miss a deadline or didn’t have access to any other material. The last track is a filler remix of the lead single. I guess if she had to go this route, it is the least objectionable of the songs she could have chosen. The other part of Cosgrove’s problem is that her vocals can’t mask the lack of originality in the music behind her. The backing band is boring, so you’re left with only Cosgrove’s vocals to support this release. She’s okay, but she doesn’t – at least on this release – have the vocal intensity of a Whitney Houston or Tina Turner, not that Cosgrove is trying to be either. Both of those artists, though, bleed their soul into their material. Cosgrove skates along the surface and lets her weak lyrics float the boat.
For a different perspective, consider that my twelve-year-old daughter loved this release. I listened to it five times in a row as a penance. I survived. Cosgrove probably has some talent buried in this material, but it’s too deep to be able to ascertain.