Release Date: August 29, 2006
There is a place for campy, cartoon-character pop, and Jessica clearly knows this. Hell, she’s managed to build a career out of it! A Public Affair is her cheesiest record yet, a salute to roller rinks and preteen bonfires that relishes in its own stupidity. When it works, it’s poppy fun, but these moments are unfortunately few and far between.
The best parts of A Public Affair imitate (or sample) superior artists. The title track owes its entire existence to a bouncy Madonna sample, and once the chorus of overexcited roller skaters chimes in at the end, resistance is futile. The other highlights are Simpson’s cover of Dead Or Alive’s You Spin Me Round (Like A Record), B.O.Y. (with guitar stabs that sound suspiciously like they belong in the Cars’ Just What I Needed) and the sugary Shania Twain sound-alike Walkin’ ‘Round In A Circle. The rest of the album is less successful.
Simpson dons her daisy dukes once more for Push Your Tush, an embarrassing (self mocking?) country/pop/dance mixture that falls flat on its face with painfully unfunny proclamations like “take it to the barnyard!” Towards the end, A Public Affair becomes almost unlistenable. Unlike the breezy first half, Simpson decides to return to her standard oversing-every-note-that-I-can delivery. Given her earnestness, especially on the break-up ballad Let Him Fly, it could be campy fun. Sadly, the melodies just aren’t there. C
Key Tracks: Walkin’ ‘Round In A Circle, A Public Affair, You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)