By Darren Franich
March 08, 2011 at 12:00 PM EST

Image Credit: A.M.P.A.S.Gwyneth Paltrow started her musical charm offensive back in November with a swell performance at the CMA awards and an enjoyable guest-starring turn on Glee.

Since then, she’s completed an award-season hat trick, joining Cee-Lo onstage at the Grammys and singing a ditty from Country Strong at the Academy Awards. Both performances were genuinely fun to watch. Maybe it’s because she used to have such a humor-free reputation — this is the woman who projectile-cried at the Oscars, named her daughter Apple, and regularly updates her own “My life is awesome” website — but there was something surprisingly appealing about seeing Paltrow cut loose. And she could sing, kinda, and dance, kinda, so we could enjoy her performances guilt-free. It seemed like a fun little side project, a professional dalliance.

But now, that “dalliance” could be extended indefinitely. Paltrow is reportedly seeking a real record deal, with a real record label, to record a real album for a real music career. One report even places that record deal at almost a million dollars. Paltrow’s publicist denied rumors of a finalized deal, telling EW, “There is no deal in place for Gwyneth with any record label yet.” (“Yet” is clearly the operative word there.) Am I the only one who thinks that much of the charm of Gwyneth-as-Songstress will fade if she actually starts to get serious about this music stuff?

Because really, Gwyneth Paltrow is an actress — a great one, capable of zippy comedy or high drama — but she’s just not a singer. It’s one thing to perform a beloved song on Glee, where careful editing can create a dance number and a little pitchiness can actually be a bit delightful. It’s another thing entirely to record a complete album, with original music.

Ask yourselves: What would that album sound like, exactly? Even though Country Strong nominally kickstarted this whole music thing (you are not forgotten, Huey Lewis!), the soundtrack didn’t exactly light up the album charts. So will the album be pop? Will Paltrow just run through her Rolodex and assemble an awesome array of producers? And if so, what really makes Paltrow different from a pop starlet who puts out albums assembled by Swedish dudes, beyond the fact that Paltrow clearly has better things she could be doing?

Don’t get me wrong. I always dig it when performers reach outside of their comfort zone, and I fully expect to be totally charmed by Paltrow’s return trip to Glee tonight. But I can’t be the only one who thinks Gwyneth’s run as a songstress should end before it gets stale.

What do you think? Do you want to see Paltrow actually have a real music career? Or should she just go back to GOOPing it up? Is the phrase “GOOPing it up” trademarked yet, and if not, who do I talk to about that?

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