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Jessica Simpson

Do You Know – 2008 (SonyBMG)

Reviewed by Robert Loy

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CDs by Jessica Simpson

It's official now. Alan Jackson was a prophet. The whole world has truly gone country. Bob Seger, Bon Jovi, The Pretenders, Jewel, Darius Rucker, Kid Rock (is he going to have to change his name, by the way, to Kid Country?) and now Jessica Simpson. She probably would have worn a cowboy hat to announce this progression, but that would obscure her lovely blond hair, so instead on both the front and back photos she sticks cowboy boots in your face. She and her manager-father insist that she's been a country girl all along, and she's finally fulfilling the dream of returning to her roots. Which is fine, but it would be nice if one artist went back to their roots after a successful pop album not one that tanked as quickly as Simpson's "A Public Affair."

Other than the boots, she hasn't made many concessions to country. And truthfully she doesn't have to; she's as least as country as Faith Hill or any number of similar divas. She's got the requisite pop-Christian track (Pray Out Loud) and she's got something to say about spousal abuse although she's not sure what; Remember That encourages the woman not to put up with mistreatment and on the linguistically-iffy (wonder if Jessica thinks bad grammar is country?) Still Don't Stop Me she revels in that same mistreatment. The rest of the tracks are just bland, blah love songs enlivened by the occasional pedal steel. She also has a lot to learn about how to behave down south, for instance it's considered bad manners to drown out Dolly Parton when y'all are supposed to be doing a duet (Do You Know).

Ironically, the best track is the seductive and catchy - but very pop - song Come on Over. Jessica Simpson has a history of bouncing back from disasters - that reality show that captured her train wreck of a marriage, botching a Dolly Parton song in front of the president and Dolly herself - so there's every reason to believe she'll recover from "Do You Know" and reinvent herself once again.