Brooke Hogan

The Redemption

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No doubt about it: the Hogan family had a rough time after the fall 2006 release of Brooke Hogan's first album, Undiscovered. Within one year, her parents' marriage dissolved and her mom ran off with a boyfriend younger than the 21-year-old Brooke, sparking a very ugly public divorce not helped at all by her brother's arrest for reckless driving. It was a heaping dose of TMZ-fueled gossip, but Brooke herself wasn't at the root of either scandal, prompting the question of what exactly Brooke needs to be redeemed from on her Redemption. The answer is as unclear as the reason why she chose to immortalize herself as a '70s van mural for the album's artwork, and these are the only mysteries on Redemption, for Brooke Hogan is a pretty simple, sweet girl who only wants love and understanding. In another era, she'd be Sandra Dee singing about holding hands, but in 2009, she's a Britney wannabe singing about "BeDDable" boyfriends and rough sex, laying bare the explicit thoughts BritBrit only hints at. But where even Britney at her most addled (i.e., Blackout, a clear sonic template for Redemption) gives the impression that she's signed off on the direction her pop persona is taking, Brooke only seems in control on her vitriolic attack on her mother, delivered completely with an actual argument pasted over the bridge, and the ominous self-empowerment of the title track. Apart from this, Brooke happily embraces whatever role handed her, not really caring that most of the songs are only suited for Florida strip clubs, not really caring that her singing is filtered through impenetrable layers of Auto-Tune, not really caring that she winds up making music every bit as classy as her cover art. In a sense, there's a crass purity to the bad taste of Redemption, as it's nothing more than the product of a pretty, curvy girl who just wants to sing, and producers who create tracks to fit those curves, and if it's not a lot of fun to hear Hogan and team race toward the same goal on parallel tracks, at least it produces a whole lot of bewildered fascination.

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