Ashley Tisdale probably saved my life.
That’s probably an overstatement.
No, you know what? I’m wrong. It’s probably a fairly accurate statement.
I planed to do an entire series of these, for each of my favorite albums. By album I mean, If I’m in a particular mood, or I want to be, or I’m trying to be, I’ll throw the album on and (gasp) listen to the entire album. I planed to start with my actual favorite album and eventually down the line, I’d get to this one. Build up to why an album like this, A Sugar-Coated-Disney-Girl-Pop-Album, why this could possibly be important to me. Explain why albums like these, not even the BEST of their genre (yes, It’s hardly the best girl pop album ever made..) would still be important. Why this album, is literally a guilty pleasure of mine, and why that extends beyond a simple attraction to Miss Tisdale, personally, she’s a little too skinny sometimes…however, the more bulked up HellCats version of her is…hold on, I’m getting ahead of myself.
I decided it was more important to explain this album first, maybe to show some deeper meaning, or something.
Simply put, this was the right album, at exactly the right time. I needed something like this, something, a distraction.
Summer 2009 I was not in a good place. It was not a good time. I certainly wouldn’t have chosen to put myself in the situation, unless I subconsciously wanted to put myself through that torment. Getting drunk to the point of blacking out nightly was wearing me out, and wearing on my already straining job, not to mention putting my safety at risk, because I simply didn’t care, mentally I had checked out. I needed things to do, distractions. My cousins tried to help, and did. My Casa Bonita friends, god love them, tried helping, but their solution involved MORE drinking, and me ending up in situations with people I didn’t necessarily care for..
I think at this point, It was fairly known that I was a fan of girl pop music, but I kept it mostly quiet. Didn’t really share with people outside my family. I had also decided that I wasn’t going to care about any of these new Disney girls, I’d stick with Christina, Britney, Ashlee Simpson, and maybe a little Mandy Moore. I was certainly aware of High School Musical, how could you not by this point? It was phenomenally successful. I’d posted my share of “I can’t wait to see High School Musical 3” status updates. But, I decided against seeing it. Why? Mostly, because I knew deep down, I’d probably LOVE it.
I think I’m getting off track again.
One of the things I had to do during this time, If I had to be stuck at my house, my horrible house, was to give myself jobs to occupy my mind.
-I was still 6 months away from taking the class that would finally cement in my head the notion that I can AND should actually write, most of my apprehension to writing came from hearing, almost on a daily basis, that writing (along with art, and hell, just about EVERYTHING, I liked), was a waste of time, and why bother, and after hearing it for 3 years, I just kinda lost interest-
Anyway, one of the jobs, I gave myself was after finding out that there were websites where *GASP* people posted COMPLETE SOUNDTRACK SCORES (a whole different post for my soundtrack love is coming, I assure you). And, most of the scores I was looking for, such as the fabled expanded MULAN, brought me to, well Disney sites. And all of these Disney soundtrack sites would also have all of the Disney Channel Girls and their albums. And I kept seeing the, just released, first single from Ashley Tisdale’s second album, “It’s Alright, It’s Ok.”
And, one day I bit, and decided, what the hell, lets see what this girl is all about. At this point I had a passing knowledge of who Ashley Tisdale was, she was “Nose Job” from High School Musical, and her friend was “Naughty Pictures,” and she was on that twin show with the really really hot Asian Chick, but she never seemed to be on any episodes I saw.. The Entertainment Weekly review of HSM3 had an interesting line about her, but really that was it.
I downloaded the song.
The song, which turned out to be about recovering from a break-up, and how much better and stronger you’re going to be without that person, “So much better without you.”
And for some reason (I wonder what..?), something in the song spoke to me. The song, as cheesy as it sounds, became my anthem. Became my mission statement. So from there, I went and checked out more about this, Ashley Tisdale. iTunes was running a countdown to her new album, every week a new track would be released up until the point of the new album. I wish more artists would follow this example, I think it’s a pretty neat idea. So from there I had my distraction, and not only that, it had short term, and short-long term pay-off built in. Every week, I’d have something new to look forward to, something to keep me going, and at the end, I’d have a new album. Tisdale was different than most other girl pop, her voice is unique, no one else sounds like her.
This Album, as ridiculous as it sounds, started me on the road to my recovery, brought me into contact with my second batch of Twitter friends (among them, my current BFBFF, and a few others, including a now, real-life friend and another who introduced me to Lily Allen!), which in turn gave me the courage to reconnect with other friends of mine.
The biggest change that came, I think, was that I stopped caring about stuff like this. I don’t care who knows what type of music I like, or what they think about it. I don’t care anymore. They can think whatever they want. If they don’t ‘get’ me then they’re never going to.
Back to the album. While, Guilty Pleasure, clearly is not be the best pop album, lyrically (honestly, I hope to one day get around to my chart ranking Disney Channel Stars by worst lyrics), it still had the energy I was looking for, and from that point on, nothing would change my mind otherwise. It was exactly the pop-poppy-pop I was looking for. I, not knowing who Cobra Starship was (or is), had no idea about the album “controversies” the three similarly titled songs, and I still don’t care.
As for Ashley Tisdale herself, the way I see it, she helped me out when I need it the most, and the least I could do is return the favor. So, eventually I went and got her first album, Headstrong, and while I don’t care for it as much as Guilty Pleasure, it’s not bad. I’ve also gone and collected (I think) every other cover and single of hers that I’ve been able to find. But still, overall, I wouldn’t really consider myself a huge fan. I really have no interest in seeing ‘Picture This’ or ‘Aliens in the Attic’ and to this day I’ve still never seen an episode of Suite Life with her in it (well, except on Tumblr). HellCats, on the other hand, is a completely different type of guilty pleasure. I adore it. I really hope they give it a second season. And the animated, Phineas and Ferb is a surprisingly well written little series. I’d really like Disney to put her in a “real” animated property, she has a very distinctive voice, which would work good for feature animation.
Now, as for High School Musical, like I said before, one of the reasons I never saw HSM, was that, well, I KNEW I’d love it and for whatever it was, It got stuck in that “worried about what people would think” category. And, like I said before, I don’t care if people know I love musicals. And I do. I love musicals. Disney or not. Animated or Real. I’m a sucker for Musicals, especially well done musicals. I’m also a sucker for really good teen drama or rather coming of age drama, Like Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane or Gilmore Girls. I’m also a sucker for ACTUAL high school musicals. The HSM films are REALLY well done musicals, and coming of age dramas! Especially the third, which of the three FEELS the most like a REAL musical (probably because they had REAL money), and works so well. In fact, most of my friends seem confused that I HADN’T seen the films before.
And yes, Vanessa Hudgens is ADORABLE, and yes Efron’s impressive physique becomes even more impressive over the course, but Ashely Tisdale literally steals these films. Owen Gleiberman’s Entertainment Weekly Review (the one referenced above, stuck in my mind all these years) eloquently sums her up the best, “the breakout star is Ashley Tisdale, whose Sharpay makes narcissism a goofy, bedazzled pleasure.”
I could’t agree more, and why would I?
I look forward to Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure, I figure I’ll enjoy it.
For the record, “It’s Alright, It’s Ok,” is the most played song in my iTunes library, and it will probably stay that way. And to this day, when I need it, as ridiculous as it sounds, Guilty Pleasure, will bring me back whenever I need to remind myself just how better off things are.