Superficial (album)

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Superficial
Studio album by Heidi Montag
Released January 11, 2010 (2010-01-11)
Recorded 2007–09
Length 40:24
Label Warner Music Group
Producer
Singles from Superficial
  1. "Superficial"
    Released: November 12, 2009 (2009-11-12)

Superficial is the debut studio album by American television personality Heidi Montag, digitally released on January 11, 2010 by Warner Music Group. After being cast in the reality television series The Hills and subsequently achieving public notability, she entered the music industry and began recording the project in 2007. However, it suffered from several setbacks after recorded material intended for the project was leaked and proved unsuccessful. Montag enlisted collaborators Steve Morales, Chris Rojas, The Runners, Sebastian Jacome, Fingazz during its production.

Superficial received overwhelmingly negative reviews from music critics, who panned its lackluster songwriting and generic production. It debuted at number 41 on the U.S. Billboard Heatseekers Albums Chart with first-week sales of approximately 1,000 copies. Consequently, the record did not earn back the $2 million that Montag spent during its production; she later blamed its failure on inadequate promotional efforts. "Superficial" was released as the only single from the record on November 22, 2009; its accompanying music video was premiered in April 2010. Montag additionally performed her track "Body Language", which was initially planned for inclusion on Superficial, at the Miss Universe 2009 pageant on August 23, 2009.

Background and production[edit]

"If you look back throughout history it used to take that long to put albums together. Now it’s more manufactured. I really wanted to take my time, and every song means so much to me. Every song was a true journey. I had to track down the songs myself, because it was just Spencer and I doing it independently. We really took our time with every process."

— Montag describing the production of Superficial.[1]

After being cast in the reality television series The Hills and subsequently achieving public notability in 2006, Montag entered the music industry and began recording her debut studio album in 2007.[2] She began recording with producer Steve Morales,[3] and later collaborated with songwriter Cathy Dennis in 2009.[4] Montag also recorded "Blackout" for the album, a song written by actress and rock star Taylor Momsen. According to Momsen, she wrote the song when she was 8 years old and recorded it as a demo with a producer.[5] Montag released the song as a digital only single, with the music video being directed by her husband Spencer Pratt. Momsen commented about the recording: "I'm like, okay, dude, you're singing an 8-year-old's words, but that's cool. It's so funny because I didn't shop it or anything and I get this call going, 'Did you write a song for Heidi Montag'? And I'm like 'What?'".[5]

In August 2007, a demo version of Montag's song "Body Language" was leaked on On Air with Ryan Seacrest, which featured an uncredited rapped verse by Montag's boyfriend Spencer Pratt. Montag has claimed she was unhappy with the leak, as the song was a "joke" and she did not want that to be the first thing people heard from her musically.[6][7][8] Montag released the promo single, "Higher" along with an accompanying video shot by Pratt to iTunes on February 5, 2008. The song and the video immediately elicited a negative response from the online community.[9] Two weeks later, a ballad titled "No More" was leaked online, and Montag later released it as a promotional single the following month.[10] Two more songs, "Fashion"[11] and "One More Drink" appeared on the internet in June 2008.[12] Consequently, Montag released the extended plays Wherever I Am and Here She Is..., which were made up of previously leaked material. Following the album's release, Montag stated "I've actually gone broke putting every dollar I've ever made and my heart and soul into this music. For me, I have a different appreciation, a different understanding, and a different love of my music and for my album than any other artist possibly could."[13] Montag later confirmed she spent nearly $2 million on the album.[14] Initially, the album was to include Montag's debut single, "Body Language", but the song was later removed from the final product. The album was eventually released on January 11, 2010 for digital download.[15]

The record was originally announced to be titled Heidi Montag, later Independent, and eventually The One. In 2009, Montag stated that the record would be titled Superficial, commenting that "that’s the world [she lives] in and how people think [she is] but it’s really just the surface".[16] Its intended cover was shot by Liz Ciganovich, who commented that it was inspired by Montag's earlier music video for her song "Overdosin'" and "Physical" by Olivia Newton-John. It depicted Montag dressed in a strapless, polka-dotted leotard in front of a wall of cassettes, which she described as a "shout out to the ’80s" and "makes you remember when you just had to run out to the record store and get your favorite album".[17] However, the official cover was later revealed to be an image of Montag in a short black dress posing in front of a large camera lens.

Composition[edit]

People, Montag described Superficial as "a fun, empowering mix that you could really dance to."[18] Montag later described the album to MTV as "...different. Not every song is in the same genre. Some are more pop. Some are more ballady. Some are a little more rock. Some are a little bit edgier, but they all go together in some way. It's like a group of rocks. They're all rocks, but they're so different."[19] The first song, "Look How I"m Doing", is described as a "kiss off to a former flame", while "Blackout" is an ode to Montag's husband, Spencer Pratt.[20][21] "Turn Ya Head" has been described as an uptempo track with "electronic" influences. The song has also been described as "urban pop". "Fanatic" is an uptempo song with "an 80's feel", and has been compared to works by Kylie Minogue. Title track "Superficial" sees Montag singing about her public image, over a "dancefloor" beat, while aiming at Montag's critics. "More Is More" has been described as a "club hit", as well as "loud and intense."

The song "I'll Do It" was described as Montag getting "racy" due to the song's sexually explicit lyrics stating to "come eat my panties off of me."[22] Montag addressed the issue by stating "I love it. I'm a very sexual person and I'm married, so it's okay. I think every woman ... has an alter ego. We all have that really sexual, fun side. I just thought the lyrics were so fun and so sexy. They empower women. That song, when my friends hear it, they feel sexier. They have more fun, because the song is like, 'I'll do whatever you want, but I'm still kind of in charge here.' The lyrics are definitely a little edgy - and I'm sorry to the little girls - but I am married. Eat the panties off when you're married."[23]

Singles and promotion[edit]

The record's only single, the title track "Superficial", was released on November 22, 2009.[24] The song's music video was released in April 2010, and featured various video clips of Montag in the media, including her Miss Universe performance of "Body Language". Initially, "Body Language" was slated to be the album's lead single, but was ultimately scrapped from the album. Shortly after the album's release, Montag announced "Fanatic" would be the album's second single, but the plans were ultimately scrapped.[25] The songs "Look How I'm Doing" and "Your Love Found Me" were also released as promotional singles, along with "More Is More", which became Montag's first and only chart entry, reaching number 27 on Billboard's Hot Dance Club Play chart in the United States.

Montag promoted the album with the release of two promotional extended plays in 2009, Wherever I Am and Here She Is....[26] The Wherever I Am album featured a remix of "Look How I'm Doing" which featured rapper Machine Gun Kelly on guest vocals.[27] Songs such as "Turn Ya Head" and "More Is More" were also included on the five song album, which were both later used on Superficial. The Here She Is... album featured promotional singles such as "No More" and "Overdosin'", as well as "Your Love Found Me", which was first introduced on her previous EP. Both albums were released independently through Pratt Productions.[28] Both albums featured previously leaked songs of Montag's, some of which were featured on the finished version of Superficial. Both albums were released exclusively for digital download, and failed to chart due to their promotional release. Montag also promoted the album by performing at the 2009 edition of Miss Universe during the fashion shoot presentation.[29][30] Montag's performance was negatively received from viewers, including other celebrities such as Anderson Cooper, who revealed his dislike for the performance on CNN. Montag herself addressed Cooper's comments, stating "I am so incredibly flattered that [Anderson Cooper] is talking about me."[23]

Reception[edit]

Superficial received overwhelmingly negative reviews. Pittnews commented that it "is chock full of poorly produced, synthesized, and — worst of all — instantly forgettable tracks that are mildly irritating at best, but are usually insufferable."[31] TheChannels said "The lyrics are no better than the rest of the album. Montag sings about these ideas: how hard it is to handle the paparazzi, how she turns heads everywhere she goes, and how she ignores those that rain on her parade."[32] Limelife gave the album a mixed review, calling some of the songs "catchy", but also said the album "sounds so manufactured, I have no idea what Heidi would sound like without all this technology behind her."[33] HollywoodLife was also gave the album a mixed review, writing "Superficial is just as over-produced as you’d expect a Heidi album to be. In fact, there are some points when you can barely hear Heidi’s breathy words over busy beats and sporadic whooshing sounds." They did, however, praise the songs "My Parade" and "I'll Do It".[34] Superficial did receive some positive reviews, however, most notably from the LGBT community. Homorazzi gave the album a positive review, and cited songs "Fanatic", "Superficial", and "More Is More" as highlights of the album.[35] MuuMuse also praised the album, calling it "fun", while calling several of the songs "guilty pleasures."[13]

Superficial sold slightly over 1,000 copies in its first week of release.[36][37] In total, the songs on the album were downloaded 6,000 times during the first week of release, with none of them charting.[38] Montag has since publicly stated she felt the album was a commercial flop due to its lack of promotion.[39][40]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Music Length
1. "Look How I'm Doing"  
3:28
2. "Turn Ya Head"  
  • Morales
  • Dennis
  • Keithin Pittman
3:37
3. "Fanatic"   3:25
4. "Superficial"  
  • Morales
  • Atozzio Townes
  • Harold St. Louis
3:08
5. "More Is More"  
3:05
6. "One More Drink"   3:37
7. "Twisted"  
3:48
8. "Hey Boy"  
  • Jacome
  • Pergolizzi
2:54
9. "My Parade"  
3:23
10. "Blackout"  
3:29
11. "I'll Do It"  
3:30
12. "Love It or Leave It"  
  • Jacome
  • Pergolizzi
3:00

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from the liner notes of Superficial.

  • Dan Black – legal
  • Ken Burry – legal
  • Ariel Chobaz – engineering
  • Liz Ciganovich – art direction, LP cover design, production design
  • Laura DeMichele – legal
  • Fingazz – producer
  • Bernie "Big Bass" Gardner – mastering
  • Sebastian Jacome – producer
  • Jaycen Joshua – mixing
  • Chris Leach – packaging
  • Peter Lopez – legal
  • Manny Marroquin – mixing
  • Steve Morales – producer, engineering
  • Jordan Nuttall – photography
  • Dave Pemado – mixing
  • Chris Rojas – producer
  • The Runners – producer
  • Casey Ryder – LP cover design, LP logo design

Charts[edit]

Chart (2010) Peak
position
U.S. Heatseekers Album Chart (Billboard)[41] 41

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Heidi Montag Compares Album to Thriller". The Hollywood Gossip. Retrieved May 2, 2013. 
  2. ^ Pete Norman (August 9, 2007). "Heidi Montag 'Moving On' After Hills Feud". People. Time Inc. Retrieved July 24, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Steve Morales Discography at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved May 2, 2013. 
  4. ^ "Heidi Montag hires Cathy Dennis to make her a pop star". News.com.au. March 18, 2009. Retrieved May 2, 2013. 
  5. ^ a b Harp, Justin, "Momsen 'surprised by Montag song cover'", Digital Spy, October 15, 2010, retrieved January 3, 2011
  6. ^ Parsley, Aaron (August 16, 2007). "Heidi Montag 'Upset' Over Leaked Song". People.com. Retrieved May 2, 2013. 
  7. ^ Spencer, Kate (August 17, 2007). "Heidi Montag Freaks After Song Leaks". Blog.vh1.com. Retrieved May 2, 2013. 
  8. ^ [1][dead link]
  9. ^ "Heidi Montag Thanks You for Your Comments". People. February 6, 2008. Retrieved February 6, 2008. 
  10. ^ "Listen to Heidi Montag's New Single "No More"". US Weekly. March 25, 2008. Retrieved March 25, 2008. 
  11. ^ "Listen to Heidi Montag's New Single "Fashion"". usmagazine.com. June 23, 2008. Retrieved July 3, 2008. 
  12. ^ "'Hills' Star Heidi Montag Plans Christian Album". foxnews.com. July 1, 2008. Retrieved July 3, 2008. 
  13. ^ a b "Heidi Montag: Superficial (Album Review)". MuuMuse. Retrieved May 2, 2013. 
  14. ^ Rome, Emily (January 13, 2010). "Heidi Montag says new album cost almost $2 million, left her broke, is as good as 'Thriller' | The Music Mix | EW.com". Music-mix.ew.com. Retrieved May 2, 2013. 
  15. ^ "Superficial by Heidi Montag". iTunes. Apple. Retrieved January 27, 2012. 
  16. ^ "Celebug! The Hottest Celebrity Gossip!". Celebug.com. Retrieved May 2, 2013. 
  17. ^ Garcia, Jen (November 24, 2009). "SNEAK PEEK: Heidi Montag's Album Cover". People.com. Retrieved May 2, 2013. 
  18. ^ Garcia, Jennifer (January 12, 2010). "Heidi Montag's Superficial Album Drops". People (Time Inc.). Retrieved February 22, 2010. 
  19. ^ Vena, Jocelyn (August 28, 2009). "Will Heidi Montag Title Her Album I'm Pregnant?! - Music, Celebrity, Artist News". MTV.com. Retrieved May 2, 2013. 
  20. ^ Tarnoff, Brooke (January 13, 2010). "Heidi Montag Loves Her Sexy New Songs". PopEater (AOL). Retrieved February 22, 2010. 
  21. ^ Layton, Kieran (January 20, 2010). "Music Review: Heidi Montag's 'Superficial'". The Pitt News. Retrieved March 3, 2011. 
  22. ^ January 12, 2010 AT 1:12PM (January 12, 2010). "Heidi Montag's New Song: "Eat My Panties Off of Me"". UsMagazine.com. Retrieved May 2, 2013. 
  23. ^ a b Comments. "Heidi Montag Loves Her Sexy New Songs". PopEater.com. Retrieved May 2, 2013. 
  24. ^ "Superficial [Single]: Heidi Montag: MP3 Downloads". Amazon.com. Retrieved June 15, 2013. 
  25. ^ "Check out Heidi Montag’s next single "Fanatic" from her debut album Superficial". The Prophet Blog. January 11, 2010. Retrieved June 15, 2013. 
  26. ^ [2][dead link]
  27. ^ "Wherever I Am EP: Heidi Montag: MP3 Downloads". Amazon.com. Retrieved June 15, 2013. 
  28. ^ "Here she is – Heidi Montag". Last.fm. January 15, 2013. Retrieved June 15, 2013. 
  29. ^ Heidi Montag Fights Back With 'Superficial' - Music, Celebrity, Artist News | MTV
  30. ^ "Heidi Montag Lets It All Hang Out In Miss Universe Performance". Fox News. August 24, 2009. Retrieved January 27, 2012. 
  31. ^ [3][dead link]
  32. ^ A&E. "CD Review – "Superficial" by Heidi Montag". The Channels. Retrieved June 15, 2013. 
  33. ^ http://www.limelife.com/blog-entry/Heidi-Montags-Album-Superficial-is-Out/30765.html
  34. ^ "Heidi Montag, You FINALLY Released Your Debut Album 'Superficial!' We Give It One Star — It's A Guilty Pleasure". Hollywood Life. January 14, 2010. Retrieved June 15, 2013. 
  35. ^ "Heidi Montag | Superficial Album | iTunes | Fanatic | Body Language | Video". homorazzi.com. Retrieved June 15, 2013. 
  36. ^ http://www.billboard.com/artist/303410/heidi+montag/chart?f=324
  37. ^ Johnson, Billy (January 22, 2010). "Jan. 18-24: Backlash And Global Aid | Stop The Presses! - Yahoo! Music". Music.yahoo.com. Retrieved June 15, 2013. 
  38. ^ usmagazine.com (January 20, 2010). "Heidi Montag Album Sells Less Than 1,000 Copies". UsMagazine.com. Retrieved June 15, 2013. 
  39. ^ "Heidi Montag blames poor album sales on lack of promotion!". The Prophet Blog. April 5, 2010. Retrieved June 15, 2013. 
  40. ^ Usmar, Jo (April 18, 2012). "Heidi Montag releases new album of pop tracks even though last flop cost her $2million". Mirror.co.uk. Retrieved May 2, 2013. 
  41. ^ "Heidi Montag - Chart history". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved February 6, 2014.