Review: Ashlee Simpson – Bittersweet World
Bittersweet World is the third studio album by Ashlee Simpson and is the follow-up to her, platinum certified, sophomore release, I Am Me. It was released on April 22, 2008 by Geffen Records and features production from The Neptunes, Kenna, Timbaland, and more. It has been described by Simpson as a “fun party album” with a “silly and quirky” side and some influence from 1980s music (1).
Ashlee Simpson has always been a sassy one, and she’s showing no shortage of attitude on Bittersweet World. It’s a delicate selection of, mostly upbeat, pop songs that tear Simpson away from her days as a wannabe rocker and push her into the territory of pop queens, such as Gwen Stefani and Hilary Duff. She may be trying something new, but it feels like it’s what she should have been doing all along.
The album opens the album with a shouted “what?” and continues with “Outta My Head (Ay Ya Ya)“; Ashlee’s desperate cry for freedom from the people who bother her most. It isn’t the strongest track on the album, but it serves as an affective preface for the album; letting us know that Ashlee’s ready to have some fun; relying on skillful delivery instead of vapid attempts at notes that are clearly out of her range.
Ashlee continues to party it up on Bittersweet World, “No Time For Tears“, “Hot Stuff“, and only finds down time in “Little Miss Obsessive” and “Never Dream Alone“, which both feel like two sleeping pills in a bottle full of stimulants. She seems to forget that tracks like “Boys” and “What I’ve Become” are what makes this album shine. There was no room for ‘vulnerable Ashlee’ on Bittersweet World, but she was forced upon us anyway; most likely as an upsetting attempt to not completely alienate the fans who loved her during her Autobiography days.
Some of the tracks are complete misses, “Bittersweet World“, “Murder“, and seem void of any kind of direction or purpose, but still prove to be somewhat listenable, just not up to par with the rest of the album. The inebriated stumbling of “Bittersweet World” just can’t compete with the feisty swagger of tracks like of tracks like “Boys” and “Hot Stuff”.
KEEPERS: “Outta My Head (Ay Ya Ya)”, “Boys”, “No Time For Tears”, “What I’ve Become”, “Hot Stuff”, “I’m Out (Bonus Track)”