Do You Know is Jessica Simpson’s return to her roots: a Texas girl. The problem with that is that she is still Jessica Simpson.
Banjos, slide guitars and southern twang can’t change the fact that she still sounds like she’s singing pop music. Most of the tracks here sound like they were thrown away by Rascal Flatts.
One could come up with many theories as to why, after 10 years, she switched directions now (her last album was a bomb, she’s a second-rate Britney Spears wannabe, etc.), but that doesn’t change the fact that she was better as a pop star.
There are a few standout tracks such as “Remember That,” about the guilt and desire after breaking up to give in and go back to a man who treated you horribly. Simpson actually sings it with a grace and power that makes the song actually inspirational.
“Do You Know” with Dolly Parton is enjoyable to listen to, but mostly because of the ageless Parton than anything else.
What holds this album back most of all is, for a country album, it doesn’t explore anything. Every song sounds too similar, with the drums sounding like they were programmed on a machine, and slide guitars featured all throughout.
A few songs try to blend some swamp-roots and twang, but ultimately this album suffers from one thing: Carrie Underwood, Faith Hill and most contemporary female country singers have done it before. It seems that Simpson is always jumping onto trends that were pioneered by more popular and better artists.
If Simpson really wants to become the next country diva, the best she can hope for is football star Tony Romo to get bored and move on to his next young celebrity woman. That way, she can find out about it in a tabloid and sing about real Hollywood heartbreak.
But considering she can afford her own home, her own dog and her own pickup truck, chances are she’ll never appreciate the nuances of that old country punch line, and should stick with the pop music.