“Identified,” Vanessa Hudgens’ second album, shows that the “High School Musical” veteran is definitely ready to graduate. The better parts of the album find her reaching for a more mature sound, but she hedges her bets with large portions of treacly teen-pop.
On the plus side are “Hook It Up,” a frisky, bubbly come-on produced by the production team Rock Mafia that sounds like a drum majorette’s version of “Hips Don’t Lie”; the sleek synthesized pop of “Party On The Moon”; and the aching piano ballad, “Gone With the Wind,” where she tells an ex-boyfriend or possibly fans of the younger Vanessa, “the girl that you knew/well, she’s gone with the wind.” Less successful are “Sneakernight,” an attempt to match Christina Aguilera in pipes and attitude that falls on it’s face and “Paper Cut,” a tune as thin as the title. The weakest link in most of the songs is Hudgens thin, piping voice. Still, her attempt to shift gears and segue into more adult concerns is laudable.