Do You Know

Her decade-long career has been filled with film flops, failed romances and albums that vainly grasp for Christina's range and Britney's sex appeal (see "Irresistible," her homage to Spears' vinyl pants). But digging into her country roots for Do You Know is the most strong-footed move that Jessica Simpson — or her ever-present dad-ager, Joe — has ever made. While she begs for a booty call on the twangy single "Come on Over," she leaves the real seduction to her restrained delivery and the album's crisp melodies. (On the cover, she's posed with her arms and legs defensively folded over her crotch like police tape.) Chipper mandolins coax along the gentle "Pray Out Loud," and fingerpicked guitars make room for blasts of Hammond organ on "You're My Sunday" — an inspiring lift befitting its pause-to-reflect lyrics. "When I Loved You Like That" is a tasteful look at lost love that makes her roller jam "A Public Affair" seem like a humiliating old yearbook photo. And while a better country vocalist could have sung the hell out of the domestic-violence-themed "Remember That," Simpson's tender voice exudes the realism of a gal who's taken a few knocks in her day.