Puddle of Mudd aren't bragging with the title of their third album, Famous, nor is its title song a self-congratulatory ironic anthem like Nickelback's "Rockstar." No, as always, Puddle of Mudd are mind-numbingly literal, sneering at the young Hollywood celebs who are famous for being famous -- read, the holy trinity of Britney/Lindsay/Paris -- spitting out insults over a cleaned-up Nirvana riff, one that's been polished with the assistance of hard rock writer-for-hire Brian Howes, who has penned hits for Hinder and DAUGHTRY. Howes isn't the only new name here -- drummer Greg Upchurch and guitarist Paul Phillips bolted after the 2004 release of Life on Display, replaced by Ryan Yerdon and Christian Stone, respectively. There may be new blood, but Puddle of Mudd still sound like Nirvana for Dummies, flattening out all the quirks and danger inherent in that Seattle trio, turning the sound inside out so it supports Wesley Scantlin's blunt, sentimental tripe instead of Kurt Cobain's elusive emotions. That approach helped bring them frat-boy fans on their debut, thanks in large part to their smarmy singalong "She Hates Me," but on Famous Scantlin avoids any icky, nasty emotions in favor of slick soundcraft. This results in an album that's hookier than Life on Display -- thanks in no small part to all the professional songwriters aboard, including Kara DioGuardi, who in no small irony has written with Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, and Paris Hilton -- but by downplaying those noxious elements of Puddle of Mudd's music, Famous winds up sounding faceless and forgettable.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine