Picks and Pans Review: Jessica Simpson

updated 10/02/2006 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/02/2006 AT 01:00 AM EDT

A Public Affair

With her star on the rise and Britney at home playing mommy, the timing would seem perfect for Simpson to step up as a major pop force. But her fifth album is merely a passable affair, cementing her status as a second-string diva. Take the title-track single: Blatantly ripping off Madonna's "Holiday" and Diana Ross's "Ain't No Mountain High Enough," it only drives home the fact that Simpson is in desperate need of her own killer song. As she tries on everything from country to swing, the tunes go from innocuously pleasant (the Olivia Newton-John-like "Walkin' 'Round in a Circle") to confoundingly bad (the hip-hop hoedown "Push Your Tush").

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DOWNLOAD THIS: "Walkin' 'Round in a Circle"

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