Hope Partlow

Who We Are

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AllMusic Review by

Her Tennessee roots show in the initial strains of "Crazy Summer Nights," and there's some feeling in her vocals over the gentle acoustic guitar and drum machine trickle of "Like You Do" and "It's Too Late." But that's about all you get with Hope Partlow's Who We Are, a generic and calculated album even by teen pop standards. Diary-like entries pepper the album's liners, presumably written by Partlow during her transition from small-town girl to budding pop star. "I went to some meet and greet parties in the city...the food is always so wierd [sic]." "He kissed me! And I totally let him!" And maybe she really did write them. But they're disconnected from the saccharine quality of Who We Are's songs, and against that musical backdrop the pink, scribbles, and chatty notes seem showy and premeditated, more like branding than confession. After all, would Partlow's diary include lines like "It's a long goodbye and I'm on an even keel"? It's that stilted sort of phrasing (from "Don't Go") that makes Who We Are feel like an adult contemporary album masquerading as a teenager's pop debut. Meanwhile, "Who We Are," "Girlfriend," and "Everywhere But Here" are only more versions of the slick, manufactured sound popularized by Ashlee Simpson. Sure, Partlow's singing. But the material she's been given is so recycled -- from the lyrics, to loves-me, loves-me-not themes, to the processed guitars, to the mouse-click percussion -- that it could be anyone, and isn't even memorable as sugary pop. Lost inside a formula, Hope Partlow needs to find out who she is before she follows Who We Are.

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