Tiny Bubbles 

For Your Inner Little Girl/Dirty Old Man

UPON THE POSTER unfolded from the booklet of her debut CD, a tan, young, and lovely girl lies dreamily prostrate against the underbrush, swooning gently, staring beyond the camera toward somethingsomething wonderful, hovering just above her reach. One hand lies beneath her head; the other, distractedly, trails down her stomach, below the booklet's focus, her lower torso a pulsing crimson flush. Her name, again, is Hoku, a word equally resonant of a deceptively minimal poetry, affected sham, andwell, her father was Don Ho. Perhaps, in the end, she was fortunate.

There's an undeniable sexuality within the muted spectrum of synth teen-pop, something for the little girl and dirty old man inside us all. Has there ever been a better porn star name than Britney Spears? Ever a more conflicted arousal than the leering "milk" mustache shot from her debut? Christina Aguilera, for her part, expounded upon what a girl wanted and precisely how one should be stroked--to better unleash the genie straining for release.

Within the genre's strictly sampled repetition and sweeping melodic flourishes, the pronounced effect is one of control, of identities rigidly constructed toward an entirely feminine swagger, of Never Mind The Bollocks by, for, and about 11-year-old suburban girls. Hoku may be the 11-year-old girl's Nick Cave. But do remember what awful taste 11-year-old girls have.

Hoku, while charming and clearly attractive, does not quite understand why men always seem to prefer someone else. Hoku knows of her genie, but it's yet to leave the bottle. As enormously appealing as her track listings may read--"Another Dumb Blonde," "How Do I Feel (the burrito song)"--the eventual songs are damnably mopey.

Endlessly examining relationships, attempting to justify a palpably bitter abandonment, this may be the reasonable progression of girlish maturation--the defiantly unmarried woman, aged 16. Hermusic, for want of a better word, traces the Jive label's digital matrix without the garish seizures or hook-laden idylls of 'N Sync and Britney. Poppy enough, for the moment, but nothing you can't shake from your head. As she, apparently, knows all too well.


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