Emma Roberts

Unfabulous and More

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Half soundtrack, half teen pop debut album, Emma Roberts' Unfabulous and More features songs from the Nickelodeon series Unfabulous -- in which Roberts plays Addie Singer, a sensitive but sassy 13 year old who writes songs to cope with the ups and downs of adolescence -- as well as a few new tracks. Much like Hilary Duff's first forays into pop during Lizzie McGuire, Roberts is fresh and genuine, and the album is filled with sweet, idealistic songs sung by a young girl who sounds like a young girl instead of a pop tart. Unfabulous and More is just as musically eclectic, if not more so, than many of the albums by established teen divas: it spans the big, shiny pop of "I Wanna Be," the spunky rock of "Punch Rocker," and "Say Goodbye to Jr. High," a detailed look into the inner workings of the junior-high caste system set to bittersweet synth pop, in just the first three tracks. Like many other teen pop albums, there's a small army of writers, producers, and musicians responsible for these songs, but Unfabulous and More actually manages to sound like the voice of one girl. Many of the best songs were written by Jill Sobule, whose work has always had a sometimes-sweet, sometimes-sharp insight into young women's thoughts. "New Shoes" captures the giddy delight of getting a new pair of kicks, while "94 Weeks (Metal Mouth Freak)" nails the prison-like feeling of putting your teeth in a cage. Though the song is more than a little self-pitying, and much like having braces, goes on a little too long, it's still kind of remarkable that this teenage rite of passage and the worries surrounding it (will you still like me if I have braces?) hasn't had a song dedicated to it before. Songs like "Mexican Wrestler" and "Dummy" -- a kiss-off song dedicated to a friend who's becoming a poser -- also add some quirky but perceptive twists to teen angst. Unfabulous and More may be too earnest and innocent for fans of glossier, more glamorous teen pop, but based on these songs, it's easy to hear why Unfabulous, and Roberts, strike a chord with teenage girls.

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