Here we go with the Guilty Pleasures again...

It seems to be very clear, even in my own apartment (with my two roommates, not with me) that Miley Cyrus' "The Climb" is very popular. I won't begrudge Ms. Cyrus that the song has a sweeping chorus, and has the staying power to expose to the Taylor Swift-influenced market. But if she isn't belting out poppy goodness like "See You Again", I'm kind of disinterested.

I am however very much interested in the career path of one Ms. Demi Lovato. Like the majority of the world, I was first introduced to her thanks to the comedy of errors that was Disney's Camp Rock. Lovato played Joe Jonas' love interest. Since then, she has been catapulted onto the fast track with her debut album, Don't Forget, mostly produced by the Jonas Brothers themselves or their "people", as well as her own comedy sitcom on Disney titled "Sonny With A Chance". I'll admit to not watching the show. Her acting chops leave much to be desired, but her voice, at the right moments, is downright piercing.

It's unfortunate that she will always have that Disney tag to her, because if she came up any other way, people would see her for what she really is. She writes her music, she plays guitar and piano, and she sings from the gut. Isn't this Taylor Swift's appeal? The difference is, Demi is a sanger, while Taylor's voice sometimes verges on being gratingly offkey.

"Get Back" was a passable teenpop track, and "La La Land", although it is too throwaway pop, had a good message behind it's lyrics. The third single, "Don't Forget", was my real favorite from the album for its raw and intense lyrics. I saw Demi live when I saw the Jonas Brothers on tour this past summer (yes...don't hate), and I was shocked by just how intense she is when she performs. It's a downright rarity in her genre, let alone in pop music in general.

While none of her singles have had the impact on the Top 40 radio that she probably deserves, she dove right into working on a sophomore album -- which she recently announced via Twitter this past week is due in stores in late July. I found this to be ridiculously fast, but whatever floats Disney's boat. Two of the songs are slated to be co-written/co-produced by John Mayer (what is with teenpop girls and their adoration with John anyway? Demi, Selena Gomez, Taylor Swift...mind boggling) The first single, "Here We Go Again", should be hitting radio waves somewhat shortly.

And on a similar but sort of different note, Ashley Tisdale's sophomore effort, Guilty Pleasure, has been pushed back a week due to her promotional obligations in Europe. Or something. Maybe it's really because the first single, "It's Alright, It's OK", hasn't made much of an impact at all at Top 40 radio or the Hot 100.

I have gone on the record several times stating my love for Ashley and my anticipation for her sophomore work. Then I heard "Alright" and my excitement dimmed. The song is sort of baffling considering how glitterpoppy her debut, Headstrong, was. "Alright" instead delves into new-ish territory, attempting to copy the current Max Martin staples provided by P!NK and Kelly Clarkson with absolutely no success.

However -- my excitement started to renew this past week when another new track from the album, the namesake "Guilty Pleasure", leaked. And it is 1980's pop tastic. It actually sounds like it belongs in some kind of timewarp next to Bananarama (which -- per PopJustice -- are supposedly coming out with something new? for serious?). Color me confused, Ash. Alas -- per her Wikipedia page, the song will only be released as a bonus track in Japan. Ridiculous, considering the album bears the same title -- so I'm hoping it's just a typo. She should be releasing more stuff like this than knockoff Kelly Clarkson cuts if she ever hopes to be noticed as something else beyond Sharpay Evans.

As more information continues to pour out about the release, the entire album is slated to be co-produced by Tisdale and Twin, the production team behind the incredibly edible V Factory first single "Love Struck." So....I suppose she has that going for her. We're just going to have to wait and see...

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