Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Ashlee Simpson's New Album Far More "Bitter" Than "Sweet"

Dear Ashlee,

All I have to say to you is: Why? Why would you create such an atrocious album? Why would you let down all the fans who have stuck by you through everything? We stood at your side when you made a complete fool out of yourself on national television during your infamous Saturday Night Live lip-synching incident. We made both of your previous albums debut at #1, putting you on the fast track to possible superstardom. Hell, we even defended you when you abandoned all you said you stood for by getting all that plastic surgery and turning into another of many eminently forgettable modern blonde starlets. “Boyfriend,” the lead track off your last album, “I Am Me,” had you singing “Hollywood will suck me in but it won’t spit me out.” Now what I want to know is when you wrote that song, did you know you were lying and would morph into a corporate sellout?

On April 22nd, you’re released “Bittersweet World,” your third major label album. What I don’t understand, however, is how a major label supported this “record” at all. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if after this album fails to generate any good press, you’ll be dropped. It’s sad, yes, but you brought this on yourself. What I also don’t understand is why you’re using your relationship with Fall Out Boy Pete Wentz the completely wrong way. I mean, you could have taken advantage of his musical genius and entrepreneurial expertise to help you evolve your pop/rock sound and make an actually good album. His influence is clearly there on “Little Miss Obsessive,” the only legitimately good song on the record. It just boggles my mind that you wouldn’t work with this same formula on the rest of your CD. Instead, you’re using Wentz to generate publicity. Don’t even try to tell me that the fact that you and he announced your engagement and are constantly in the news squandering pregnancy rumors just a couple of days before your album was released was not a publicity stunt. I mean gee, Ashlee, it must clearly be a coincidence that your name is all over all the celebrity gossip blogs the week you try to get yourself press and hype for your record. And to answer the questions you’re probably thinking, no, you did not spark enough interest in anyone to buy this record to support this future family.

Instead of utilizing your connections and having your talented fiancĂ©e help you out, you recruited producers like Timbaland to turn yourself into a horrible pop star. Just because he changed Nelly Furtado from a semi-decent songwriter to a washed out Top 40 friendly robot, does not mean he can do the same for you. The whole rock-star-gone-bad-pop thing has already been done! At least when Gwen Stefani did it, she did it with a bit of originality. She didn’t try and just imitate every hip hop beat she heard on TRL. I mean really Ashlee, there’s a reason why you released the first single off this album, “Outta My Head,” way back in December, and now four months later it still has not caught on anywhere. You should have learned from your previous albums – pop/rock songs like “Pieces Of Me” and “Boyfriend” actually did amazingly well, whereas simply bad pop songs like “L.O.V.E” did not take off half as well. I bet you wish you had listened now when your mother taught you as a little girl that history repeats itself.

I know I’m coming off harsh. It’s just that my main issue with this album is how much I wanted to like it. It’s been three years since your last album. For three years, I have been waiting to hear more from the Ashlee Simpson that I had grown to love and seen in concert three times. When I read that you were changing your sound, I had high hopes. Nobody wants to record the same album twice, I get that. If you did that, you wouldn’t be an artist. But the difference is your sound needs to evolve. You can’t ditch the artsy clothes, surgically fix the imperfections (yes, I’m referring to your nose) that made you so quirky, different, and cute. And most importantly, you can’t jump from pop/rock princess to dull, boring, pop tart sounds that are exactly like everyone else’s.

When “Autobiography,” your first record, came out, I could not pick a favorite song because they were all so good. Now with “Bittersweet World,” it is not difficult at all to find a favorite since there’s the only one good one. To be fair, my ears did not bleed when listening to the songs “No Time For Tears” or “Never Dream Alone.” However, I also wasn’t relating to it like it was a page from my diary like your previous songs made me do. These songs are maybe decent enough to serve as B-sides from the “I Am Me” sessions, but that’s about it. Unfortunately for you though, the bad completely outweighs the good, and songs such as “Rule Breaker” and “Hot Stuff” are beyond abysmal. In fact, these are two of the absolutely worst songs I think I’ve ever heard. I actually feel sorry for you that you think they were good enough to even be recorded. You have no idea how sad it makes me to say that about your music Ashlee, no idea.

I feel betrayed. I used to love you. In fact, I still have a poster of you on my bedroom wall at home. I used to look up to you. I used to put at least one song of yours on every mix CD I would make for myself or my friends. I would even put a song or two on a mix I would make for my mother, a woman who’s most contemporary idea of pop is Tom Jones. I just wanted to hear a song of yours as a refresher while in the car with her. It’s like the old saying: “When you meet your hero, you will either fall in love or be completely disappointed.” Well, Ashlee, I don’t need to meet you to be disappointed.


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