Track #10 off of In This Skin, 2003
Jessica Simpson has a very interesting place in the history of 2000s pop music, and I say this mostly because I don’t think she ever got the recognition she deserves. Being labeled as another “blonde pop singer” despite the fact that she is an incredible vocalist always left me feeling like she was left in the dust of her peers even though she was just as talented. In my opinion, I find that many critics didn’t seem to even want to try to understand her or her music, but on the other hand I can completely understand why some of them disliked it. However, with that being said, Jessica Simpson has some important moments in her discography that really should be talked about.
Her third studio album, In This Skin, was released in the summer of 2003 to mixed reviews. The second single “With You” peaked at number 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 and while it didn’t get into the top `10, it remains one of her most popular tracks to date. While critics were rather harsh with their reviews for this one (in my opinion), I find parts of this record to be crucial for the early 2000s and a prime example can be found right at the end of the track list with the title track.
“In This Skin” is quite honestly a revolutionary moment in pop music that easily gets glazed over because it’s “just pop”. Sometimes the pop genre becomes synonymous as meaningless by the most critical of listeners but when it comes to this one, that statement couldn’t be further from the truth. The track discusses the pressures to be perfect and Simpson’s own struggles with her body image and confidence, and details that she really is just like everyone else. Keep in mind that this was before social media was a thing and that the only way to really read about or interact with celebrities at all was mainly through photoshopped magazines and entertainment news channels. There was no way for them to show us how regular they were because one large aspect of their job was to be put together all the time. However, Jessica lays out her insecurities but still touches on the idea that while she has her imperfections, she still deserves to feel comfortable with who she is.
And back then, that was a bold statement to be made.
In today’s day and age, speaking about being true to yourself and satisfied with yourself is constantly seen all over social media and magazines. But in the 2000s especially, that was rarely ever talked about. Jessica Simpson was not only ahead of the times on this one, but she also comes across as being very genuine and sincere, something that the decade heavily lacked. Had this song been released as a single and gotten a well made music video and appropriate promotion, I think it would have been a great success and a pivotal moment in music history.