By Leah Greenblatt
Updated August 28, 2006 at 04:00 AM EDT
Paris Hilton: James White

Why shouldn’t Paris Hilton be a pop star? Because she can’t sing (any better than you do in the shower)? Because she doesn’t need the money? Because there are roughly 9,396,547 more deserving talents out there? America has already obliterated that logic by embracing undertalented reality-show siblings, dabbling actresses, and oddly mannish burlesque dancers in the same role.

And if there’s one thing the Ashlees, J. Los, and Pussycats have shown, it’s that anyone with a smart image maker and access to a fancy recording studio can have a hit. Which is why Hilton’s debut is approximately as good and bad as albums by any of her Mystic-tanned rivals. Yes, Paris‘ lyrics are often both inane and vaguely porny (see ”Screwed”: ”Tonight, tonight, you’re gonna turn down the lights/And give me a little more room just to prove it to you”), and Paris herself shamelessly cribs Gwen Stefani’s breathy, girlish delivery and reggae rhythms.

Pop music, however, is rarely built on original concepts, and thanks to Willy Wonkas like über-producer Scott Storch, Paris is a candy box well-stocked with NutraSweet melodies, from the summery island groove of lead single ”Stars Are Blind” to the synth-disco come-on ”Not Leaving Without You.” You may hate what she stands for, but don’t let that keep you off the dance floor. B