“Life is really good right now. I’m young. I love my life and I enjoy my time off too. I wanted to celebrate all that on my next record,” says Ashlee, who has been tinkering with “Bittersweet World” on and off since summer 2007. “I wanted to make music people could shake their booties to and use beats for the first time. I wanted to sing fun songs. Basically, I wanted to make a party record.”
Timbaland produced half of the tracks (including “Murder,” “Out of My Head (Ay Ya Ya),” “Ragdoll,” and “Rule Breaker”) while the rest were guided by the Neptunes’ Chad Hugo and critically acclaimed Ethiopian synth-hop savant Kenna. “The room was so blessed with talent. I was very lucky to work with people who are at the top of their game. I was nervous the first time I walked into their studios, but they quickly became like protective big brothers to me and encouraged me to just go with the flow and do whatever my heart felt was right in the booth. They’d come up with beats and I’d come up with a melody. Everyone worked together and if you had an idea, you would just spit it out and see if it stuck. I knew they wouldn’t let me sound stupid and that made me go for it even more. They create an easygoing, fun vibe everywhere they go.”
Ashlee also became a fan of Missing Persons. “I love those strong women from the late `70s and `80s. They are strong and vulnerable simultaneously, yet they still make you want to dance. Women like Chrissie Hynde, Debbie Harry and Pat Benatar have really inspired my music for the last two years and you will definitely be reminded of that era when you listen to the new album.”
“Rule Breaker” – After a few listens the song grows on you. It’s still not great and yet it might make a dent in the top of the pop charts.
“Bittersweet World” – The rare mature sounding moment of the entire album. Ashlee does her best to pull of a Debbie Harry moment and actually nails the attitude.
“Outta My Head (Ay Ya Ya)” – Simpson tries to go retro like Gwen Stefani. But this seeming tribute to the bad ideas of the ’80s and shouldn’t win her any new fans–except maybe my cousin who still sports a mullet.
“Boys” – Ditto “Outta My Head.”
“Ragdoll” – Ditto the previous two songs.
“Little Miss Obsessive” – Really interesting vocals on the verses which end up being blown on a lackluster chorus.
“Never Dream Alone” – Ashlee sure sounds like she is serious and is throwing down a powerful ballad–except she lacks the soul of her idols.
Ashlee has her moments. She enlisted some high powered producers but her attempt at being Debbie Harry and Gwen Stefani has fallen flat. There are some good verses and some interesting choruses its a shame that none of them end up in the same song. “Hot Stuff” proves she is terminally average.
Watch the video for “Outta My Head”