Jessica Simpson (Columbia)
Blonde, pouty-lipped and impossibly cute, Jessica Simpson is as tough to pick out of a lineup of lookalike teenage songbirds as her breathless hit “I Wanna Love You Forever” is difficult to differentiate from the rest of Top 40 radio. So far, Simpson’s debut album hasn’t scored the same success as those of Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. But rest assured there are more cookies like “I Wanna” in Simpson’s cutter. One ditty, titled “Where Are You,” is a duet with 98° boy-toy Nick Lachey, Simpson’s real-life squeeze. Unlike her peers the 19-year-old Simpson is not a former member of Disney’s Mickey Mouse Club. She auditioned for the show at age 12 but didn’t make the cut. Also setting her apart from the teen pop pack is Simpson’s track record as a performer on the Christian music circuit. Here, she sounds downright worldly singing “Heart of Innocence”—a devotional tune she wrote extolling the virtues of premarital abstinence—in a low, sexy croon.
Bottom Line: Teen yearnings set to a watery R&B beat