California singer/actress Vanessa Hudgens got her start in the local theater as a youngster. A commercial lead to film roles, which in turn lead to the 2006 made-for-TV Disney hit, High School Musical. Hudgens' vocals were featured on five of the High School Musical soundtrack. The eighteen year-old signed with Hollywood Records in mid 2006 and began work on her first album.
Hollywood Records wasted little time getting Hudgens' debut disc, the aptly titled V, recorded and released. The rush, an obvious attempt to capitalize on the massive success of the High School Musical movie and soundtrack (the disc has sold close to four million units in less than a year), could have backfired, but it didn't. The 12 track collection is an electrically charged mélange of pop, rock, dance, and R&B. Recorded in less than two months, V is a slicked up affair that is bright and fun.
The disc kicks off with the strong one-two punch of "Come Back To Me" and "Let Go," explosive dance tracks that sound as if they were time-warped out of the 1970s. Hudgens layers her luscious voice overtop programmed beats, sampled finger snaps, and hypnotic percussion. The later is an infectious jam reminiscent of Beyoncé Knowles (who has often sounded like she just stepped out of the 1970s).
Vocal training has payed off big time for Hudgens. The young diva in development has remarkable control and tone. The flowery "Whatever Will Be," an elegant piano piece with a dreamy string section, is an exercise in vocal technique. Hudgens rides her voice to the top of its register and then gently takes it into a beautiful falsetto. The volcanic "Lose Your Love" is a serpentine dance cut that will have the sweat falling to the floor in clubs around the world.
"Never Underestimate A Girl" has a repetitive melody that is as addicting as peanut M&Ms. Hudgens lets a little bit of her teenage sass come out as she struts her way around a throbbing beat and an elastic bass line. "Promise" is a self-assured track that finds young Vanessa taking control of her life and breaking free from a suffocating relationship. "I promise myself, I'm nobody's, I just wanna be free," she sings confidently. That's good advice, and some fine role modeling right there.
In less than a year, Vanessa Hudgens has gone from Hollywood hopeful, to star. V lives up to the hype that precedes it.
By Todd Sterling
|Artist:||Vanessa Anne Hudgens|
|Number of Discs:||1|
|Shipping Weight (in pounds):||0.2|
|Product in Inches (L x W x H):||5.0 x 0.42 x 5.63|