After 20 eliminations, Guilty Pleasure finally takes its first hit with its twelfth track Me Without You. The ballad, which technically closes the album - since everything from Crank It Up onwards is considered bonus material - is a heartfelt recording in which Ashley essentially ponders on what's left of her own identity when she is stripped of what she values the most, her partner. It's a beautiful song, though I always skipped it, and never veritably fell in love with it.
GhettoPrincess echoes my feelings perfectly: "Simple but gorgeous ballad. Ashley really pushes herself vocally with this song and it's impressive." It's all moderate love from tylerc904 too, who qualifies it as a "really lovely ballad. Such a step up from the Headstrong slowies." WhenTheSunGoesDown solidifies his place as YouTube comment-quoting queen: "This YouTube comment (I was too lazy to grab my CD for the second half of my Guilty Pleasure write ups) raises so many questions: 'reminds me of this guy called gio who is mean but last year talked me out of stupid things and he made me realize that life will get better'. What the fuck?" I don't know who that Gio is, but he sounds like a mess. mat.overboard brings up Demi, and I'm not too happy about that. "Like a skyscrapeeeeeeeeeeeeer"
"What kind of My December reject??" questions constantino, before adding, "I mean, that’s sort of a complement because My December happens to be one of my favourite albums. Vocally…she’s trying, but she doesn’t have the range…" It gets straight-up negative with DJHazey: "This is a bit over the top with its message and it sounds so blah. I'm not usually here for 'I'm not 100% without you in my life' anthems anyway and when they come from someone with their life still in front of them, it's a bit exhausting. It would appeal to her target fanbase and not much else. Thank God for the bonus tracks, because this not the way I'd want such a masterclass album to end." You bring up a valid point: was this really the note to end such a high-energy, boppable LP? I have no idea why Crank It Up and Switch are considered bonus tracks... I mean, I understand that the latter could be, but not Crank It Up.
Anyway, Me Without You is still a gorgeous song and our 11 commentary comes up next.
Jonathan27 awarded Me Without You his 11 and I believe his commentary deserves a separate place. It's truly heartbreaking and emotive, and I strongly urge all of you to read:
"I listened to Guilty Pleasure a lot in high school. It's one of those albums that takes me back to a certain period of time, to a certain span of time where every moment had a soundtrack, where I was becoming who I am now in both obvious and more subtle ways. I remember getting a call from one of my best friends who I had gotten a lot closer with recently (I had come out to him, he had said he had a lot of questions about his own sexuality) about his grandmother. They had gotten in a boating accident and she had fallen out and hit her head on a rock, knocking her unconscious and causing a potentially irreversible coma. He said she was the closest family member he had, and being from a religiously devout family, she was the only one he had considered going to about his sexuality. For some reason this song really jumped out to me, particularly the lyric in the bridge: "When you say baby, it's gonna get better, I believe you". I think that's why I recommended the song to him. To me, it's less about someone being everything to you and more about someone being the only thing holding you together. When you feel so alone and like no one will accept you, when you feel like parts of you are inherently broken and need to be fixed, when you're taught that your very being needs to be changed, you value the people who do accept you even more. And we'll never know if his grandmother would have accepted him: after three months in the hospital, they decided to cease the assisted breathing and let her pass on her own. But knowing that her love was the most unconditional he may ever have was enough for him. I still see how it tortures him, how he still hasn't been able to negotiate her passing six years later. And I think about listening to this song with him, and how all the things she is to him and all the importance he meant to her is still so important, that if she can see him that way there is truth in it that he has yet to see. That he is and always will be deserving of love from his family and from his friends and from a significant other one day. We're still friends now, though more distant, but as crazy as it sounds it's an Ashley Tisdale song that always brings me back to those memories, mostly distraught and heartbreaking but also some of the most formative moments in my life."
Wow @Jonathan27 that was such a heartfelt story to read and I want to thank you for sharing it with all of us. I would've honestly given it a few more points if I had known it this much impact on someone's life.
I feel bad that it went out this early, but it's truly my least favorite song on the main album.
I dare you not to bop to this. Go on, listen to this and hold back that frantic armography. Ashley takes on the world-famous Rick Astley song, which is less appreciated for musical value than for meme status. For those who don't know, this became quite popular after abruptly appearing in YouTube values. The art of rickrolling is real. Never Gonna Give You Up receives the gold medal of Degree Girl OMG! covers, which is pretty great. It's a cute disco throwback, and the chorus is fucking amazing, so what's not to like?
A lot, apparently, for constantino: "This is kinda cute but the production is very clunky…which kills the original hooks. The production, again, is very cheap and flat which makes this a complete miss in my book." iheartpoptarts comments, "Much like the Whitney song, this arrangement threatens to suck all the fun out of it, but that chorus is never not undeniable." The synths might have done it for Plethorya: "Why is this the song on the EP where they go all out with the synths?" I don't know, but they work! "Why, why, WHY????" suffers Sally_Harper, "Why has she covered this?! It’s horrible. I mean, her cover isn’t horrible, but it’s a good cover of a horrible song, when there are so many good songs she could have made a good cover of. I think she’s improved it, actually, so I’ll give her extra points for that."
DJHazey owns up to his Post-Rickrolled Traumatic Syndrome: "A hell of a lot less terrorizing then being pranked with a Rick Astley video, right? It's a dirty little secret that I never actually minded the original song, but hearing Ashley do it is definitely an improvement on principal." Another panellist who finds it better than the 1983 version is WhenTheSunGoesDown: "Yes! Troll us, Ashley! More of a jam than the original." "This cover is crazy good, I love how she sounds here", praises headztrong, while Sprockrooster lets us in on his listening sessions with his boyfriend: "My boyfriend is a mess. He says 'I know this. This is a cover' and I am like... this is album full covers, what the fuck. How could you not notice?!" What was his reaction to I Wanna Dance with Somebody? Mess. Let's finish with Penguin, who calls it... "iconic".