Headstrong is Ashley Tisdale's debut studio album that was released on February 6, 2007 by Warner Bros. Records.
- So Much For You
- He Said, She Said
- Be Good To Me
- Not Like That
- Unlove You
- Love Me For Me
- Goin’ Crazy
- Over It
- Don’t Touch (The Zoom Song)
- We’ll Be Together
Walmart exclusive/iTunes tracks
- Who I Am
- It's Life
- I Will Be Me
Ashley Tisdale got her first start on Billboard when she became the first female artist in history to debut with two songs on the Billboard Hot 100, from the soundtrack of the Disney Channel film "High School Musical."
Tisdale called the feat "crazy," stating, "When I think about artists like Madonna and Beyoncé...it’s surreal. I seriously can’t comprehend it."
Soon after the completion of "High School Musical", she began working on her debut album. In December 2006, producer J.R. Rotem confirmed he was producing and writing with Tisdale for the album.
According to Tisdale: "I want people to know that I’m a real person, and that I’ve been through normal situations, like crushes and heartbreaks. I think hearing my stories will help the audience relate better to me."
Tisdale said that the album was an opportunity for her fans to get to know her better, commenting, "People know my characters, but they don’t know me." Noting that she never spills much information about her life in interviews, she also said that the album talks about life and things personal to her.
Regarding the previous statement, Tisdale said she wanted people to understand that she was normal, and how they could relate to her.
She titled the album "Headstrong" because she calls herself a "headstrong" type of person, commenting that she was the term in the sense of knowing how she wants to look, sing, and come across.
In addition to wanting to record songs that "touched" her and those that she could personally identify with, she co-wrote three songs on the album, "Over It," "Not Like That," and "Suddenly.
"Don't Touch (The Zoom Song)" is a cover song, performed originally performed by Tata Young, while the Diane Warren-penned track "Love Me for Me" was originally recorded by South African girl group Jamali.
Tisdale collaborated with Rotem, Ryan Tedder, and Evan "Kidd" Bogart on "He Said She Said."
She also worked heavily with production teams The Matrix and Twin. Additionally, Diane Warren, David Jassy, Guy Roche, Shelly Peiken, Sarah Hudson, Samantha Jade, and Bryan Todd were the other remaining music veterans that worked on the project, with the rest being relatively unknown writers.
While the album does not contain credited featured artists, Jassy, Jack D. Elliot, Keely Pressly, Lauren Christy, Scott Spock, Graham Edwards, Kara DioGuardi, Victoria Sandstorm, Windy Wagner, Bryan Todd, Tata Young, and Marissa Pontecorvo provide background vocals on tracks.
Jassy performed rap interludes on "Be Good to Me," which he co-wrote. The album was released in the United States on February 6, 2007.
"Headstrong" derives mainly from the genres of dance-pop, electropop, and R&B while incorporating teen pop themes and hip hop and dancehall elements. It carries many elements of hip pop itself, and has been compared to the music of Gwen Stefani.
The title track "Headstrong" mixes "slinky" verses with cheerleader chants like Stefani's "Hollaback Girl."
The album begins with a "futuristic" introduction which contains excerpts of other songs on the set.
"So Much For You" is a dance song about a confident girl who wants true love. "He Said She Said" has been described as "steamy dancefloor seduction."
"Be Good to Me" contains an urban beat. "Not Like That," which contains influences of Middle Eastern music, covers the topic of the "familiar misunderstood-celebrity," but was referred to as more "worked up" than "whiny."
Containing rap interludes by Tisdale and clap along beats. According to Gary Graff of Billboard, the song is also liking to Stefani.
"Positivity" makes use of syncopated beats and "old-school" synths. "Over It" has "boingy" effects.
"Goin' Crazy" has similarities to Britney Spears' "(You Drive Me) Crazy," while "Suddenly" seems to cover Tisdale discovering her stardom. Jon Dolan of Blender coined the song "The Little Mermaid-worthy."
Spears is also said to be an influence of Tisdale's "husky, alto" voice in "Over It," and "So Much For You." The dance song "Don't Touch (The Zoom Song)" has an '80's style beat.
"Headstrong" debuted at #5 on the Billboard 200, selling over 64,000 copies during its first week. It was certified gold by the RIAA on June 3, 2008 for sales of over 500,000 units.
As of July 2009, the album has sold over 564,000 copies in the United States and 1.1 million worldwide as of February 2010.
"Headstrong" debuted on the Austrian Albums Chart at number 33, and after its fifth week on the chart, it peaked at 21.
In its opening week on New Zealand Albums Chart and the Swiss Albums Chart, it peaked at 22 and 98, respectively.
On the Australian Albums Chart, it peaked at 80, while spending 33 weeks on the German Albums Chart, peaking at #23.
The album also peaked at 155 on the UK Albums Chart and 16 on the Irish Albums Chart and was later certified Gold in the latter region by the Irish Recorded Music Association.
Heather Phares of AllMusic rated "Headstrong" 3 out of 5 stars and commented, "her voice is pleasant enough, but it's not especially distinctive, and she's not helped by a batch of songs that aren't nearly as charming as High School Musical's tunes."
Phares also said that although the album wasn't winning considering the high-profile songwriters and producers involved, "it's fine for anyone who just wants to hear more of Ashley Tisdale's -- and not Sharpay Evans' -- singing."
Jon Dolan of Blender said Tisdale did not import her "spunky" High School Musical character in the album, and that even with the quality of producers, "no stylistic slipper fits right."
Gary Graff of Billboard said Tisdale went, "the contemporary CHR school of fellow Mouse products Britney Spears and first-album Christina Aguilera—lots of synthesizer-laden, beat-heavy, layered-vocal dance tracks" that varied between "come-hithers" and "self-affirming anthems." He commented, "she'll have to develop a more defined identity before she can truly win our affections."
James Ross of The Arizona Daily Wildcat commended the album's uptempo songs but critiqued the ballads, commenting she hits the right notes on uptempo numbers, while on ballads, "Any 'Musical' fan knows that Tisdale can belt one out, but this is not apparent on the album." Overall, Ross said, "Although the album fails in places, it is ll [sic] a worthy attempt by an up-and-coming pop artist to please her audience."
To promote the album, Tisdale appeared in several live and televised appearances, performing the singles, "Be Good to Me" and "He Said She Said."
On February 6, 2007, she appeared and performed on Good Morning America, and appeared at a signing at FYE in West Nyack, New York. The following day when the album was released, she performed on Live With Regis and Kelly.
On February 8, 2007, Tisdale appeared in the studios of WPIX and KTLA for their respective morning news shows. She also appeared at a Verizon Wireless store in Pasadena, California on February 10, 2007, to promote the set. She also performed "He Said She Said" on The Early Show.
Additionally, Tisdale performed cuts from the album during her solo set list on High School Musical: The Concert.
On October 22, 2007, she co-hosted MTV's TRL. During the winter, she performed at Christmas at Rockefeller Center, Z100's Jingle Ball, Y100's Jingle Ball, and Q102's Jingle Ball.