Picks and Pans Review: In This Skin

updated 09/01/2003 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/01/2003 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Jessica Simpson (Columbia)

It's a good thing that Jessica Simpson has entered the world of reality television with Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica, her new MTV show with husband Nick Lachey. She may need a backup career after this, her dismal third disc. With stale songs and warmed-over production, Simpson, 23, tries to make a meal out of what sounds like Britney Spears's leftovers from three years ago. On the soft-porn single "Sweetest Sin," the singer, who once pledged to remain a virgin until marriage, attempts to shed her goody-goody teen-pop image à la Spears's "I'm a Slave 4 U." But it's these lyrics that truly are a sin: "It would feel so good to be so bad." On the country-inflected title tune, one of nine songs that Simpson cowrote, she addresses the same self-image issues that Christina Aguilera already covered much better on "Beautiful."

BOTTOM LINE: Been there, heard that

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