Ashlee Simpson’s ‘Bittersweet World’: Buzznet Community Album Review

In the song “What I’ve Become,” Ashlee Simpson croons, “I’ve just begun to find my way.” And her third album, Bittersweet World, is a step in the right direction.

To be honest, I wasn’t excited about this album. I only felt compelled to write a review because of myfake one from a while back, which the Internet was very quick to accept as fact.

So, anyway, I popped the album on, hoping for one or two solid tracks. And I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome.

“I’m taking chances and just being honest about how I’m feeling. I’ve grown up a lot and I think I’ve grown as a writer,” Ashlee said in an interview last July. Her efforts are rather rewarding. The opening track, and the single that apparently nobody but me liked, “Outta My Head (Ay Ya Ya)” prepares the listener for what’s to come. It’s about just wanting to be herself while everyone around her is trying to classify and label her. And if that’s not something a lot of people (hell, even a lot of the girls that hate her) can relate to, I don’t know what is.

Standout tracks for me include “Boys,” which is a Blondie-like song that backs up Ashlee’s mentioning of listening to a lot of ’80s pop and New Wave. Also, the title track, “Bittersweet World,” is a back-rolling, hip-shaking, shoulder-shimmying track that is annoyingly catchy … in a GOOD way. “Never Dream Alone” wraps up the album with a sweet message from Ashlee to her fiance Pete Wentz, which is rather sweet when you consider Pete’s long-documented issues with insomnia.

The album is about a girl becoming a woman, it’s about a girl who’s head over heels in love, but so much more than both of those aspects, it’s about a woman in music who is having FUN. It’s pop music – don’t doubt that for a moment – but it’s GOOD pop music. While there’s some comparisons that can be drawn between Ashlee’s new sound and Gwen Stefani‘s solo efforts, that can be largely attributed to the two drawing inspiration from similar places. And while Gwen’s music tends to play up her somewhat coy voice, Ashlee’s plays up her deeper, soulful voice fantastically.

The only let down for me was “Rule Breaker,” which seems to be too much of a slide backward. While the album is generally lyrically mediocre (but then again, buying an Ashlee Simpson CD for powerful lyrics is, to me, like buying a carton of eggs and being pissed off that there’s no chickens in it), “Rule Breaker” nearly had me laughing. And I apologize, but take this to heart: it’s utterly forgettable and is by far the weakest part of the album. My only other issue was that Travis McCoy‘s rap in “Murder” is gone from the album version (Ashlee: I need a B-side of this. Like, BURNING).

All in all, this is not only a fun album, but it’s the sort of thing that sounds as if it will lend itself well to a summer tour. If you like Ashlee, you want this album. If you are not normally an Ashlee fan, but are into funky pop music, consider at least listening to “Boys” and “What I’ve Become.” It might just win you over to the album, if not to the artist.

As always, please no bashing of Ashlee or her fiance in your comments. If you post them, I’ll delete them.