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Bittersweet World

Bittersweet World

4.0 11
by Ashlee Simpson
Has there ever been another pop star quite as shameless as Ashlee Simpson? Probably so, but nobody has ever quite so cravenly followed fashion's shifting tides as Ashlee, who has never seemed the slightest bit embarrassed to make herself over when styles changed. All this desperate trend-chasing has been done in public, as it damn well should be in the 21st century,


Has there ever been another pop star quite as shameless as Ashlee Simpson? Probably so, but nobody has ever quite so cravenly followed fashion's shifting tides as Ashlee, who has never seemed the slightest bit embarrassed to make herself over when styles changed. All this desperate trend-chasing has been done in public, as it damn well should be in the 21st century, so we've seen her change from the spunky younger sister of a superstar to the sad goth clown of her sophomore effort to the Gwen Stefani wannabe of her third album, Bittersweet World. Ashlee might look like a shadow of her former self on the album cover -- the years and cosmetic surgery have made her virtually unrecognizable from the awkward teen on the cover of I Am Me -- but she still sounds the same, still boasting that same thin, girlish voice that wouldn't have gotten much attention if she weren't Jessica Simpson's younger sister. Of course, the ironic thing about Ashlee's career is that she not only had bigger hits than Jessica, she made better records than her sister, too, all with a virtually nonexistent voice and a personality as aggressively shallow as Avril Lavigne. Like Avril, Ashlee has a distinct arc to her three-act career, bouncing back from a dour and dumb second album with a return to the fizzy fun of her first (unlike Avril, Simpson seems like she would at least wait for you to leave the room before she started saying mean things about you). Where Avril beat a retreat to the bratty punk-pop that brought her fame, Ashlee has pulled a red hoodie over her head, amped up the dance beats, revved up the '80s retro fetish, and created something that feels of the 2008 moment, as it should coming from the fiancée of Fall Out Boy's Pete Wentz. This embrace of MTV hipsterism -- never to be confused with underground movements, this includes cameos from a guy from Plain White T's -- helps mirror the growth of her initial fans, who have grown from high school through college to immature young adults, needing this absurd new millennial go-go music for their endless parties, and while that arc is as manufactured as anything else surrounding the Simpson empire, there's none of the sad, creepy abandon of Britney Spears that makes Blackout just no fun to listen to, no matter how good it sounds. Bittersweet World is all bright neon colors and bubblegum melodies, full of naggingly insistent hooks and insipid poses, none sillier than Ashlee boasting she's a "Rule Breaker" who loves to fight over a track that sounds like diluted M.I.A. When Bittersweet World is operating at this high-energy level -- copping from bad old new wave singles ("Outta My Head [Ay Ya Ya]") and Prince (the delirious "Boys") and Gwen (pretty much everything else, but especially on the feigned social consciousness of the title track, "What I've Become," and the "Hella Good" rewrite "Hot Stuff") -- this is addictive pure pop trash that's all the more irresistible because it's delivered by such a purely trashy pop star. When things slow down -- as they do on the utterly forgettable closer "Never Dream Alone" and the quite awful "Little Miss Obsessive," where Ashlee explores the endless possibilities of the word "over" in the chorus -- it's a bit of a slog, but those moments are fortunately few and far between here because Ashlee is aggressively shallow. She's always been this way, of course, but Bittersweet World is the first time that she has made a record that lives up to her happily empty persona, something that's truly fun junk.

Editorial Reviews

New York Times - Jon Pareles
“Outta My Head (Ay Ya Ya)” and “Ragdoll,” her collaborations with the Brooklyn electro up-and-comer Santogold, are perky, syncopated staccato complaints. “No Time for Tears” segues spooky Eurythmics verses into a pop-punk chorus.
Entertainment Weekly - Leah Greenblatt
Bittersweet brims with polished — and similarly Gwen-esque — hooks (the loping, exotic ''Murder,'' the synth-driven ''Boys'') and pretty melodies (melancholy ballad ''No Time for Tears,'' well-wrought breakup anthem ''Little Miss Obsessive'').

Product Details

Release Date:
Geffen Records

Related Subjects


Album Credits

Performance Credits

Ashlee Simpson   Primary Artist,Background Vocals
Jamie Muhoberac   Keyboards
Chad Hugo   Drums,Keyboards
Abe Laboriel   Drums
Ray Brady   Guitar
Mateo Laboriel   Background Vocals
Jim Beanz   Background Vocals
King Logan   Drums

Technical Credits

Stevie Blacke   String Arrangements
Jack Joseph Puig   Producer
Tim Roberts   Engineer
Jerome "J-Roc" Harmon   Composer
Timbaland   Producer
Chris Godbey   Engineer
Chad Hugo   Composer,Programming,Producer
Tal Herzberg   Engineer
Santi White   Composer
Dean Nelson   Engineer
Jun Ishizeki   Engineer
Ray Brady   Guitar Producer
Daniel Betancourt   Engineer
Ashlee Simpson   Composer,Producer,Executive Producer
Mateo Laboriel   Programming
Jim Beanz   Composer,Vocal Producer
King Logan   Composer,Programming,Producer
Joe Simpson   Executive Producer
Aris Archontis   Engineer

Customer Reviews

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Bittersweet World 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I wasn't too impressed with the other albums made by ashlee simpson, I would say this album would have to be the best one she has made, every song is good on here, her music is fun to dance to, its not like before when she use to sing like a screaming hissy or a drunk robot. This album she made has catchy songs to it, its considered pop too, I'm glad ashlee stopped the punk-rock crap, her voice suits better with pop, her pop/rock she considered in her other albums was not punk/rock at all. This album is worth getting, Ashlee has good talent in this album!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am no big fan of Ashlee Simpson's previous efforts. Autobiography, her debut, was a generally promising step into the spotlight with solid guitar driven punk pop tunes. I Am Me, her follow-up to both her first album and her Saturday Night Live debacle, contained two almost good songs (the rest made my ears bleed) and did nothing to restore her credibility as a singer or artist. On Bittersweet World, however, Ashlee has found a truly signiture sound to fit her raspy vocal and her giant personality perfectly. It doesn't matter if you loved or hated her prior works... this set is a totally new gig for her. With the help of hitmaker Timbaland as well as Chad Hugo (half of the hit production duo the Neptunes) Ashlee has made the pop album of the year. I can't belileve it, but EVERY song on here is well above average pop fare. She has actually maybe created a new sub-genre...ALTERNA-POP. Won't go into which songs are best because I cannot decide!!! Treat yourself to this album!
Guest More than 1 year ago
How can someone with so little musical credibibility make the radio friendly CD of the year so far? Janet, Mariah and Madonna have all released critically acclaimed CD's this year... NONE are as eclectic and consistent as Bittersweet World. Excellent guitar driven pop along with synth driven retro tunes, this is Ashlee Simpson's first really good work. Truly unbelievable. I didn't know she had it in her.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I heard this playing in a store I was in the other day. Didn't recognize the artist who was pumping out the serious jam over the speakers, so I asked because I knew I had to have the CD. Imagine my shock when I discovered this rerto-alternative banshee was none other than Ashlee Simpson's new CD Bittersweet World. Really, this is good stuff!!! I swore I would never buy one of her CD's, but I did, and I am HAPPY! Listen after listen, EVERY song on here amazes! You will not get to fast foward past a single song on this collection. I wish this was her first album... she would be hailed as a legend in the making!
Enjoyedxit More than 1 year ago
Look this cd is really good and i really enjoyed how the cd was. The songs on it are pretty kewl. I Mean this really doesnt sound like her old sound not as edgy,rock,reblish more of an understanding. This cd is engertic and very hip- retro. The songs are the type of the songs you are shopping at a store and at first your like ahhh. i dont like this song. As further as the song goes the more you end up liking it. At the end you ask where can i get the cd or is this song avilable on itunes.You should buy this cd i really like murder, and Bittersweet-world
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