By Scott Brown
Updated August 23, 2006 at 08:07 PM EDT

Any critic can tell you, middling reviews are the hardest to write — especially if what’s being reviewed had the potential to be either incredibly great or howlingly bad. The eagerly dreaded Paris, for most people, falls into the latter category, and reviewing it should’ve been a stand-up act. But it seems the heiress/icon/thing-object’s prefab dance album is, maddeningly, just good enough to deserve a modicum of consideration. Witness the generally negative, yet oddly hedge-prone contortions below.

Stephen Thomas Erlewine in
“Make no mistake, Paris is a very good pop album, at times deliberately reminiscent of Blondie, Madonna, and Gwen Stefani, yet having its own distinct character — namely, Paris’ persona, which is shamelessly shallow… Where that might be irritating within a movie or within pop culture at large, when placed in a shiny, hooky dance-pop album it works splendidly, particularly because the songs are strong and Storch and company know how to keep things light.”

Sam Chennault of Rhapsody: “[A] well-tested formula for dance floor euphoria, even if the heiress’ vocals are a little limp.”

Tim Lee of
“…maybe it’s what she was trying to achieve all along: Some kind of comment on the society in which we live, the disposable transient despicable plastic inane world, where to be totally devoid of purpose is, in fact, to achieve some kind of higher state. A Zen like calmness stemming from the ability to mean absolutely nothing at all. Nah.”

Rob Tannenbaum of <a href=”
“Producer Scott Storch and for-hire songwriter Kara DioGuardi earn their points with effectively spare club beats,” yet Hilton’s repetitive, prosaic “self-adoration,” rendered in her “soft, flat, uninteresting voice,” “makes celebrity sound boring.”

But Paris, like many of the rich and useless, is a populist by nature. She draws her power from the enduring curiosity of the Great Unwashed. (Not to mention media parasites like myself; as Socrates said shortly before logging onto, the unblogged life is not worth living.) Thus, for our final judgment, we go to her album’s Amazon page. The people have spoken:

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