Ashlee Simpson 'Bittersweet World'

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What do ILXors-who-care think about this album?

I will be posting in costume as Alex in NYC for obligatory vomit-sounds in due course.

Tim F, Sunday, 25 May 2008 22:59 (nine years ago) Permalink

Early days, but I'm very much on the fence.

It all sounds very sparkly and interesting and crammed full of ideas and good production etc. etc. but I'm struggling to hear the Ashlee that I loved on I Am Me. She's obviously going for a Gwen style gonzo eccentric chart-pop star kinda vibe. Perhaps the difference is that Gwen built up to her debut album over the course of several No Doubt albums where she'd already laid the groundwork for this gonzo approach - such that "What You Waiting For" etc. was surprising but still felt recognisably her. There's no precedent for Ashlee's gonzo so it feels much more forced (not forced in a "strategy laid out by a record company way", but forced in a "okay, I'm gonna deliberately inhabit this headspace" kinda way).

My favourite tracks to begin with are the beautiful ballad at the end and the bonus track "Invisible", which sounds a bit like Smashing Pumpkins' "Here Is No Why" in parts - the guitar, not Corgan etc.

It occurs to me that Smashing Pumpkins' second and third albums would have been excellent source material for Ashlee to plunder more thoroughly - turns out "Invisible" is in fact a cover version of some other band's song and an outtake from I Am Me to boot. But as usual with that kind of material Ashlee's vocal just makes it her own.

Ashlee's probably the only pop star where what I most prize (or prized) is/was her presentation of authenticity. Less because I was pleased that she "meant it" (I dunno ultimately) but because I thought she sold it completely. Aesthetically, she works selling grunty rock songs with personal lyrics.

I might just need time to adjust. The carvinalesque pop songs (the title track, "Murder", "Rulebreaker" etc.) all sound very interesting. I doubt that the bizarre "Hot Stuff" will be my jam any time soon though. Even Gwen would have sent that one back for redevelopment.

Tim F, Sunday, 25 May 2008 23:09 (nine years ago) Permalink


the video to In My Head made laugh in a very very sad way, that's about it.

sonderangerbot, Sunday, 25 May 2008 23:12 (nine years ago) Permalink

sorry that's Outta My Head

sonderangerbot, Sunday, 25 May 2008 23:14 (nine years ago) Permalink

I like the album a lot, though definitely not as much as her previous one, and possibly not as much as her first one. Here's what I wrote about it:

xhuxk, Sunday, 25 May 2008 23:15 (nine years ago) Permalink

I hosted a BBQ this afternoon, and "Outta My Head" and "Little Ms Obsessive" went over VERY well.

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn, Sunday, 25 May 2008 23:21 (nine years ago) Permalink

She's obviously going for a Gwen style gonzo eccentric chart-pop star kinda vibe.

You were expecting what? Krautrock?

Alex in NYC, Sunday, 25 May 2008 23:39 (nine years ago) Permalink

She'd been setting this up as an "alter ego" record (Vicky Valentine, who's basically Roxy Hart, which she played in Chicago in London) and it sounds sort of halfway between that concept and the lighter side of I Am Me ("No Time for Tears" and "What I've Become" really split the difference and lean toward her last alb, but they're also not really strong).

I like it a lot, actually, in a way I largely (with a couple exceptions) don't tend to like her other albums -- for their novelty, for one thing, and also the way she actually pulls off a lot of styles that I wouldn't think suit her very well. Like she finally basically does a Jessica Simpson single ("Boys") that's better than most of what I've heard from Jessica Simpson, and her Timbaland/Santogold track ("Outta My Head") is probably the best on the album. And I've started to care less that she duets with Plain White T's guy on "Little Miss Obsessive," which finally clicked a little after I had the whole album.

I like "Hot Stuff" in theory, but yeah, it's not really much of a jam. Although I kind of like that about it, too.

dabug, Sunday, 25 May 2008 23:48 (nine years ago) Permalink

Good convo about it (that xhuxk links to) here.

dabug, Sunday, 25 May 2008 23:51 (nine years ago) Permalink

There's no precedent for Ashlee's gonzo so it feels much more forced

Yeah, several reviews I've read say that the Gwen kitchen sink-pop stuff is some kind of natural progression for Ashlee but it's very unlike anything else she's done.

dabug, Sunday, 25 May 2008 23:54 (nine years ago) Permalink

How much "kitchen sink pop" is there, though? "Hot Stuff" (which I admire more than I actually enjoy listening to, too) is the only track that really makes me think "Gwen." And Ashlee's a warmer singer than Gwen. So even though I don't think her newfound emotional detachment is an improvement, I wouldn't say the direction hits me as "forced," either, and I'm not sure I agree about it lacking precedent. "Outta My Head", "Rulebreaker", "Boys," and "Ragdoll" are basiclally new wavey, dance-oriented rock -- they aren't really all that far from "Boyfriend," are they?

xhuxk, Monday, 26 May 2008 00:05 (nine years ago) Permalink

I guess so -- maybe it's more like there are a lot of kitchen sink intrusions, like the electro music box in the (otherwise standard rocker) "No Time for Tears"..."Murder" counts as kitchen sink, and "Outta My Head" and "Rulebreaker" (and maybe "Ragdoll") all sound pretty strange, I think.

A lot of this is in light of the rest of her stuff, which tended to use rock as its foundation, where as here the guitar is usually just another decoration used on the dance beat, exceptions being "Little Miss Obsessive" and "What I've Become."

dabug, Monday, 26 May 2008 00:14 (nine years ago) Permalink

And the guitar spikes along in "Boyfriend," too, but there's something about that one that isn't trying as hard to be weird (which is why I think Gwen comes to mind).

dabug, Monday, 26 May 2008 00:17 (nine years ago) Permalink

Ha ha I guess "Hot Stuff" casts a long shadow... But "Murder" and "Boys" and "Rulebreaker" are both tracks I'd put in the Gwen camp, though I like it a fair bit more than "Hot Stuff".

It's true that some of those tracks aren't a huge departure from "Boyfriend" or "Burning Up" or "L.O.V.E.", but all three of those earlier songs strike me as being new wavey, dance-oriented rock tracks that are put in service of very Ashlee performances. Maybe that's just down to the laconic singing style she had on I Am Me which is mostly abandoned here, but even the backing music for those tracks was almost trying not to draw attention to its dancey quality. This backed up by the video clip for "L.O.V.E." which was shockingly unglamorous.

Frank likes to argue that I Am Me was Ashlee playing dress-ups, and while I agree I think she tries to have it both ways on that album, like the school goth who makes some concessions to the formality of the prom by wearing a dress while still being identifiably and inimitably her.

By comparison much of Bittersweet World has that Stephanie Kaye quality of a person deliberately trying to make a fresh start with new outfits.

This isn't a bad thing necessarily - I might even decide that I really like that aspect to the album. It's early enough in my listening that all I can hear is the stuff I liked from the previous album that's not carried over. But this a typical response for me (one of the values of hearing new albums from artists that you like being that it crystallises what it was you liked about their earlier work) - I've gotta give this album a chance to develop its own identity in my head.

Tim F, Monday, 26 May 2008 00:29 (nine years ago) Permalink

I never thought Ashlee was any good at dress-up, in the sense of trying on something that "isn't you" (she wasn't good at disguising herself, but that was a good thing for the music, which felt more unified on I Am Me despite bringing in new styles). Before now I just thought she took everything and made it Ashlee-rock. But here she's not doing that, she's gotten better at the disguise element of dressing up. I'm wondering, if she gets a shot at making another album (who knows), whether or not this is basically a vacation (which is what it feels like) or a jumpstart to a new career.

FWIW, the album still refuses to disengage itself from her other two albums for me, so I find myself appreciating its craft but still wondering where old-Ashlee is and reading into the album through the old version instead of letting the new one have its own voice.

dabug, Monday, 26 May 2008 00:38 (nine years ago) Permalink

I do hope she hasn't broken ties with Kara DioGuardi and John Shanks, who were obviously important, maybe totally responsible, for the old sound. (Neither of them get thanked in the liners, despite a Billboard article with Kara taking a call from Ashlee asking for advice at some point during production.)

dabug, Monday, 26 May 2008 00:40 (nine years ago) Permalink

"Vocal production" on Bittersweet World is largely by Jim Beanz, who had the same credit on Blackout so this: laconic singing style she had on I Am Me which is mostly abandoned here might be due in part to his influence. Vocals aren't treated that much differently than on Britney's album, where the voice is distinctively hers (Britney's or Ashlee's) but layered on itself in service of the song as a whole. (Britney's almost always doing her vocals in service of song-as-a-whole, so I actually think the vocal production there made her more present in the tracks, whereas here Ashlee is usually up front and now is kind of evenly mixed into the tracks more.)

dabug, Monday, 26 May 2008 00:44 (nine years ago) Permalink

*before she was up front, I mean

dabug, Monday, 26 May 2008 00:47 (nine years ago) Permalink

You were expecting what? Krautrock?

Dude, it's 2008. A teenpop star going Krautrock would be about as radical as a teenpop star going punk.

Matt DC, Monday, 26 May 2008 01:00 (nine years ago) Permalink

I like this one more than the others, which puts me in the minority, I know, but whatever. She's become so good at being a chameleon.

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn, Monday, 26 May 2008 02:21 (nine years ago) Permalink

A teenpop star going Krautrock

I would love this. Maybe the next Miley album gets some work from Czukay?

BIG HOOS aka the steendriver, Monday, 26 May 2008 02:52 (nine years ago) Permalink

Wait, guys, Ashlee was Gwennish from the get-go and has never not been Gwennish. The earliest track of hers that's seen the light of day - the only one that's surfaced from the sessions she did with Stan Frazier and Steve Fox - is a very No Doubt-like bit of ska-punk called "Just Let Me Cry" from the Freaky Friday soundtrack. My guess is that, to the extent that the people who were contemptuous towards her actually listened to her stuff, one thing that was unsettling was her somehow managing to meld a Gwennish ingratiatingly cutesy girl-pout with the Courtney urge to rip your face off. This would have been a combination that made no sense to me except when she did it it made perfect sense and her lyrics even explain why: "Shut up/Come back/No - I didn't really mean to say that/I'm mixed up/So what?/Yeah you want me so you're messed up too."

OK, I know there's a difference between Gwennish pout and Gwen gonzo eccentric - by the way, a potential influence might be the Jessica gonzo eccentric of "Push Your Tush" and "These Boots Are Made For Walkin'" - but I think Ashlee doing "gonzo" sounds far less mannered than Gwen, mainly 'cause unlike Gwen she doesn't sound like she's suffering from infantilism. But then, she's a vastly better singer than Gwen is. And also, it's 'cause she's not pretending to gonzo, actually; what she's coming across as is a dreamily sweet oddball with a penchant for play acting.

Ashlee's singing is way stronger and more assured than on her first two albums. The Courtney in her has been reduced to a burr, but it's that burr that prevents showbiz blues like "Boys" from merely sounding "quirky." There's a warmth that's absolutely 100 percent there and that makes every current singer-songwriter with a tendency towards "cabaret" sound pretentious and mannered in comparison, even Marit. But "strong" and "assured" and "unpretentious" and "not mannered" don't necessarily make the music better overall, and the strained, torn-up nineteen-year-old who made Autobiography pulled more out of the sounds and also out of the strained torn-up thirty-three-year-old who helped her write the lyrics.

But I also think she's growing up well, so someone else can be the 19-year-old while Ashlee turns the ongoing strains and tears of life into a lark. Of her three albums this one comes in third place, but it's a joy and I keep playing it over and over and finding things I'd overlooked or underrated. "Murder" makes far more sense on the album than it did as a leaked track last August. On the old teenpop thread I was complaining that I didn't want to hear Ashlee Simpson waste her time being saucy and naughty and risque and hiding behind opaque double entendres. It's not that I've changed my mind, just that I'm now hearing this as a nice girl who doesn't get away with murder and doesn't want to get away with murder inventing a wild child alter ego to pour forth wild words that play at sense rather than making sense. It seems sweet and honest, actually. Still wish the words were more vivid though, and not "titillating." (But where "Rule Breaker" and "Murder" come through is in the way sudden moments of real beauty emerge from the pretend mayhem.)

Frank Kogan, Monday, 26 May 2008 06:12 (nine years ago) Permalink

Btw Tim, get 1x livejournal. What I'm typing here tonight feels pale in comparison to what I and others have written there. I hate various things about the livejournal format, especially the nested threads and that there's no way to track new changes, hence threads are functionally dead in 24 hours. And I feel that ultimately you lose more than you gain when you create a protected environment. It's too bad that so many of the smart people decamped from ilX in late 2005, apparently deciding in their unconscious that this board was no longer worth saving, and by their departure helping to make that decision into a fact. But it's a fact we've got to deal with. And it isn't that any discussion there will be better than the equivalent discussion here; but rather, if the discussion does happen there first, reiterating it here just feels like going through the motions; this is one of the many reasons rolling teenpop lost its roll in mid 2007. In any event, follow the six or so links from xhuxk's article.

Frank Kogan, Monday, 26 May 2008 06:20 (nine years ago) Permalink

Btw, within the first fifteen seconds of "Outta My Head" I thought of Gwen.

Frank Kogan, Monday, 26 May 2008 09:30 (nine years ago) Permalink

Yes, absolutely Ashlee is less mannered than Gwen. But I sort of feel like Gwen's mannerisms and infantilisms actually come naturally to her, like she's probably quite a bit like that in real life. Whereas if Ashlee is like "Hot Stuff" in real life I'd prefer not to know, I prefer to think she's like "Eyes Wide Open" etc. (of course the likelihood of her being "like" either (or like any single song in her oeuvre) is very small).

Possibly the missing third term here is Pink, who I think has negotiated a vaguely similar transition quite carefully on tracks like "Stupid Girl" and "Because I Can" (Nb. I never bought I'm Not Dead, so I'm basing this on the album's slow emergence as multiple singles marathon winner - which benefits Pink enormously, as it makes the transition's success seem more assured and inevitable).

Tim F, Monday, 26 May 2008 11:41 (nine years ago) Permalink

but I'm struggling to hear the Ashlee that I loved on I Am Me. She's obviously going for a Gwen style gonzo eccentric chart-pop star kinda vibe.
Thats an incredible description...anyway as for ASSlee, while she has never quite driven me to dark thoughts I've always thought she's been a bit hit and miss and consistently infantile actually. I've seen little points aside from perhaps her debut where she's maintained a sort of progressive move into more 'adult' pop instead she's kept the infantilism and then tried to tinge it with vaguely/overtly sexual lyrics which just irritate the fuck out of me. As for Bittersweet World I really hated Outta My Head then I loved it almost obsessively and the same goes for Murder (EXCEPT the rap) and the breakdown of Hot Stuff but she's not pulling this stuff off. She just seems confused like; 'Am I really doing this? I'm not really sure what any of this means but its hot right?" The production is really hype and I think her disguising herself as a new-wave-ish pneumatic ice electro pop princess might work if she really takes some time to think about it first instead of just squeezing shit together and hoping that it fits.

VeronaInTheClub, Monday, 26 May 2008 17:32 (nine years ago) Permalink

It works fine for me; the Terry Bozzio drag suits her better than the Jane Wiedlin power-punk.

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn, Monday, 26 May 2008 18:01 (nine years ago) Permalink

Am I the only person who thinks the expression, "I was invisible" is completely played in music? I think the sentiment is done much better here (though of course this is Broadway transposed onto film and maybe pop gets a pass for rearticulating the same cliche over and over and over again).

Mordy, Monday, 26 May 2008 19:22 (nine years ago) Permalink

Possibly the missing third term here is Pink

True. Though I think Ashlee got away with doing what Pink has been trying to do since M!ssundaztood nearly effortlessly, and she certainly gets away with going frivolous with less effort than Pink does in "U and UR Hand," say, which is still one of the more overworked (and unsuccessful) variations on the Max/Luke "Since U Been Gone" thing. Which doesn't make it bad by a longshot, but that's a pretty high standard...

Ashlee has it both ways -- frivolousness and earnestness -- in a way that Pink can't because she seemingly fails on BOTH fronts at the same time. Which also makes Pink more interesting to me in a train-wreck sorta way, but I always listen to what she comes up with incredulity at least and a kind of stunned disbelief at most (and you should check out her full album for the times when the stunned disbelief is a major plus -- "I've Got Money Now" -- and a major minus -- maybe "Dear Mr. President"). For the most part the songs that were released as singles don't really nail the schizophrenia I'm hearing (utterly bipolar where Ashlee just kind of ignores the binary, or makes it FUNNY, like in the line Frank quoted from "Love Me for Me") like the rest of the album. (Literal schizoidness in "Leave Me Alone (I'm Lonely)," which is like "Love Me for Me" failing so miserably it's pretty interesting in its own right.)

dabug, Monday, 26 May 2008 23:06 (nine years ago) Permalink

The funny thing with that Pink album is that I don't "get" any of the singles all of which have become massive and YET I love love love "U + Ur Hand" nearly as much as any "Since U Been Gone" bite (the best of which I think is Marion Raven's astonishing "End Of Me", which is the darkest of them, and Pink's, along with The Veronicas "4eva" which is the frothiest).

I haven't heard Bittersweet World yet but am going to investigate because ironically Tim's on-the-fence evaluation makes it sound as if it's going to hit my spot completely. "I Am Me" though is bloody hard to live up to - I still wish "Dancing Alone" had been a single to this day.

edwardo, Monday, 26 May 2008 23:10 (nine years ago) Permalink

I can understand not liking the sound of Gwen Stefani's voice but saying that Ashlee Simpson is a better singer really just shows that you don't quite grasp the concept of singing.

Ashlee is a decent singer but is, from what I've heard, both very limited in vocal range and inconsistent in vocal production. Gwen doesn't have the biggest range in the world, either, and the sand in her voice is at a much higher frequency than Ashlee's, meaning that where Ashlee purrs, Gwen yelps, but one thing I can say for Gwen, particularly as her career has progressed, is that she is a solid, consistent singer, particularly in arenas where people are notoriously off or out-of-tune like awards show performances (see all of Adam Levine's recent crashes and burns or the lead singer of OneRepublic completely fucking up "Apologize" on American Idol). Also, Gwen has a better sense of phrasing and far superior breath control.

HI DERE, Tuesday, 27 May 2008 20:08 (nine years ago) Permalink

It should also be noted if it hasn't already that Gwen honed her vocal chops singing and touring with an actual band for many years. Ashlee is ultimately just a studio creation and precious little more than that. And that's being generous.

Alex in NYC, Tuesday, 27 May 2008 20:11 (nine years ago) Permalink

I don't know that that matters; singing is definitely one thing you can hone without being on the road in a band, particularly if you're a solo artist working with session musicians since every time you record and/or tour, you need to recreate the ensemble's synergy anyway.

HI DERE, Tuesday, 27 May 2008 21:36 (nine years ago) Permalink

"It should also be noted if it hasn't already that Gwen honed her vocal chops singing and touring with an actual band for many years. Ashlee is ultimately just a studio creation and precious little more than that. And that's being generous."

Alex, you can always be relied upon to supply the absolute worst reasons for liking or disliking any given piece of music - I salute you for that!

Tim F, Tuesday, 27 May 2008 22:56 (nine years ago) Permalink

I don't particularly think "consistently staying in tune during award shows" is the best reason to think somebody's a better singer, either -- Though Hi Dere's purr vs. yelp dichotomy is still really interesting, I think. To me, though, Gwen's singing sounds really pinched and cold compared to Ashlee's; I like Gwen okay, but Ashlee is way more emotionally expressive, way more capable of selling a song -- there's just no comparison to my ears. Gwen sounds piddly, even ice-queeny, in comparison. If that means I "don't quite grasp the concept of singing," then fuck it, I guess I don't.

xhuxk, Tuesday, 27 May 2008 23:05 (nine years ago) Permalink

They practically have the exact same voice; Gwen has the higher version, Ashlee has the lower version.

HI DERE, Tuesday, 27 May 2008 23:06 (nine years ago) Permalink

i wish I had enough time to have opinions on this. I really do!

akm, Tuesday, 27 May 2008 23:11 (nine years ago) Permalink

"It should also be noted if it hasn't already that Gwen honed her vocal chops singing and touring with an actual band for many years."


I don't think Ashlee's a good singer. I don't think Bob Dylan is a good singer either. And he's done a lot of touring with actual bands.
I always just kind of assume that Ashlee's lyrics will be terrific, but the more I listen to it, this album just doesn't hold up to the first two. There isn't the kind of poetry that you find in songs like "Better Off." The best moments are more silly and fun ("Outta My Head") than profound.

But the bigger problem is that the hooks just aren't that great. Structurally, most of Ashlee's best songs are just to-the-point pop-rock-- nothing earth shattering, but intensely pleasurable. Songs like "Girlfriend" are made greater by the additions of her vocal melodies and lyrics, but they're all built around guitar and synth hooks that would have made good songs on their own.

On this album, the only songs that really leap out to me in that way are Little Miss Obsessive and Outta My Head. Both are absolute classics though, so it's hard to be too disappointed by the album overall.

Matt Armstrong, Tuesday, 27 May 2008 23:38 (nine years ago) Permalink

I don't think Ashlee's a good singer. I don't think Bob Dylan is a good singer either. And he's done a lot of touring with actual bands.

Did you actually just compare Ashlee to Dylan??? I don't even like Dylan and I'm blown away by that.

Alex in NYC, Wednesday, 28 May 2008 02:12 (nine years ago) Permalink

My point, however, is that like her or not --- Gwen is more of an accomplished musician. She's put in the hours and she can pull it off live. Can Ashlee make the same claim? I fuckin' doubt it.

Alex in NYC, Wednesday, 28 May 2008 02:13 (nine years ago) Permalink

alex why does it matter if gwen stefani is a better live performer than ashlee? and you're not even a disgruntled musician so why do you care about how many "hours" either of them have put in

J0rdan S., Wednesday, 28 May 2008 02:16 (nine years ago) Permalink

I've never seen Gwen live, but Ashlee was great live when I saw her. Natural performer, solid singer, and she was giving hints on her I Am Me tour of her new direction too -- some cabaret stuff and maybe even her cover of "Sweet Dreams." I don't think there's much evidence to prove that Ashlee is a "studio creation," but she's certainly using the studio more obviously on Bittersweet World (see comments on Jim Beanz above).

I don't think that Gwen and Ashlee's personalities (Gwen solo versus Ashlee pre-Bittersweet) are very similar, even if their vocals might technically be the same. But I'm not sure what "technical" even means in pop without prioritizing the sense of personality you get from the voice. (When I told my friend that Kelly Clarkson's "high" money note was an Eb he told me that that wasn't even a high note for an alto, but we weren't really using the same yardstick. I might be misremembering exactly which group of singer he mentioned, but point's the same.)

dabug, Wednesday, 28 May 2008 03:31 (nine years ago) Permalink

(I'm also not sure where the "never tours" idea is coming from, but Ashlee's toured with all of her albums.)

dabug, Wednesday, 28 May 2008 03:32 (nine years ago) Permalink

"Did you actually just compare Ashlee to Dylan??? I don't even like Dylan and I'm blown away by that."

They're both mediocre singers. That's why I compared them. I'm not saying Ashlee is comparable to Dylan in all ways.

This is strange course of argument for you anyway, because you don't even think that Mariah Carey is a good singer.

Matt Armstrong, Wednesday, 28 May 2008 05:12 (nine years ago) Permalink

When I told my friend that Kelly Clarkson's "high" money note was an Eb he told me that that wasn't even a high note for an alto, but we weren't really using the same yardstick. I might be misremembering exactly which group of singer he mentioned, but point's the same.

Kelly's high money note is a G, which is pretty fucking high when you're belting. These days, every woman out there who is going to call themselves a "singer" needs to be able to hit the Eb on the staff (which is what I assume you're talking about). Most classical mezzo-sopranos still have arias in their rep that take them up to Bb or C.

HI DERE, Wednesday, 28 May 2008 13:52 (nine years ago) Permalink

(Bb or C above the staff, I mean.)

HI DERE, Wednesday, 28 May 2008 13:54 (nine years ago) Permalink

Yeah, I was referring to what I thought was the high note in "Since U Been Gone," but actually I think I was referring to the highest note in the Veronicas'"4ever" (we talked about this at some point on the '06 teenpop thread)...Kelly gets up to the G in "Haunted," I think.

FWIW I think Ashlee hits the Eb in "La La" ("You make me wanna LA la")...not sure if Gwen tends to go that high, but then neither does Ashlee.

dabug, Wednesday, 28 May 2008 15:43 (nine years ago) Permalink

She hits the G in "Since U Been Gone". (She also has severe problems doing it live.)

HI DERE, Wednesday, 28 May 2008 15:44 (nine years ago) Permalink

Ohhhh, wait, I forgot about that part (after "you had your chance you blew it" etc.) (duh).

dabug, Wednesday, 28 May 2008 15:49 (nine years ago) Permalink

(I was thinking of the hook, which only gets as high as C)

dabug, Wednesday, 28 May 2008 15:50 (nine years ago) Permalink

less arch than franz ferdinand and therefore a million times better. also, aimed at lindsay lohan!

key to genius of 'little miss obsessive' = KARAOKE POTENTIAL

lex pretend, Friday, 6 June 2008 00:17 (nine years ago) Permalink

i think paramore are nearly good but i don't like the singer, she sounds like a smug(ger) avril

lex pretend, Friday, 6 June 2008 00:17 (nine years ago) Permalink

also she has annoying hair

lex pretend, Friday, 6 June 2008 00:20 (nine years ago) Permalink

"outta my head" is genuinely awesome tho. sounds like pylon trying to go disco or something. she definitely can play with her voice (i listened to "boyfriend" again before these two and i didn't pick up on how good her verses were) so i thought the background vocals coming in on the chorus of "little miss obsessive" were kinda muddy. the space they give her on "outta my head" works in her favor imo

J0rdan S., Friday, 6 June 2008 00:23 (nine years ago) Permalink

sounds like pylon

Cripes, can we please keep the freakin' blasphemy to a minimum?

Alex in NYC, Friday, 6 June 2008 00:59 (nine years ago) Permalink

alex listen to the song

J0rdan S., Friday, 6 June 2008 01:01 (nine years ago) Permalink

glad you're still reading this thread tho. otoh i didn't read you as a masochist.

J0rdan S., Friday, 6 June 2008 01:03 (nine years ago) Permalink


Eppy, Friday, 6 June 2008 01:10 (nine years ago) Permalink

well yea maybe you're right eppy

J0rdan S., Friday, 6 June 2008 01:11 (nine years ago) Permalink

An Ashlee fan sez:

It's not so much joy at the thought that things aren't worse, but joy at the fact that things are exactly as bad as they are. How many songs on Autobiography contain lists of negatives? At least four -- "Pieces of Me," "Better Off," "Love Me for Me," "Autobiography" -- and they're all celebratory. The negatives are precisely what make her worth loving, or what make the situation so great. She's not joyful in spite of them, she's joyful because of them.

dabug, Friday, 6 June 2008 02:58 (nine years ago) Permalink

she sounds like a smug(ger) avril

"Misery Business" is "Sk8er Boi" with no sense of humor instead of a bad one. Never really clicked with Paramore, but I do think that "Little Miss Obsessive" sounds kind of...not imitative, but weak, like an approximation of what an older Ashlee song might sound like. But the chorus is appropriately beat-you-over-the-head catchy even though the verses are kind of lame.

dabug, Friday, 6 June 2008 03:12 (nine years ago) Permalink

"Misery Business" is "Sk8er Boi" with no sense of humor instead of a bad one.

i don't think emo is supposed to be humorous so this seems like a weak critique of that song-- if you don't like the chorus or w/e or you think the singer is smug that's cool but judging emo bands or songs on their humor is probably like judging tacos by their sweetness or something

J0rdan S., Friday, 6 June 2008 03:17 (nine years ago) Permalink

Some emo doesn't have a sense of humor, but a lot of it clearly does, I think (all of the pop emo at least tries for a sense of humor, and I think Paramore comes more from this line of it than the more intentionally humorless stuff) and I think Paramore specifically kind of wants both at the same time...Avril (to the extent she's humorless) is just generally clueless.

dabug, Friday, 6 June 2008 03:27 (nine years ago) Permalink

Maybe Fall Out Boy is to emo as Choco Tacos are to tacos.

dabug, Friday, 6 June 2008 03:28 (nine years ago) Permalink

yeah maybe you're right, i just assume that girls like boys and cartel etc. are overly serious at least when it comes to music but i'm not exactly poring over lyric sheets

J0rdan S., Friday, 6 June 2008 03:29 (nine years ago) Permalink

lol maybe

J0rdan S., Friday, 6 June 2008 03:30 (nine years ago) Permalink

i like fall out boy a lot but they probably swing the humor pendulum a little too far the other way

J0rdan S., Friday, 6 June 2008 03:31 (nine years ago) Permalink

she definitely can play with her voice

i think the sense of playfulness on bittersweet world is really key to why i love it so much - it could totally have been a botched self-conscious move away from her old sound (and full-on method of performing) (unlike frank i way prefer i am me to autobiography - at its best it's so towering and visceral) (like WHOA 'eyes wide open' and the title track! like, totally c-love)

anyway yeah it coulda been botched, and i did go through similar phases to dave when i first heard 'outta my head' - 1) catchy tune but not right for her voice at all, surely just a demo; 2) can't get it out of my head; 3) hey her goofy mannerisms actually really work; 4) damn fine pop song - but idk i think the way she sounds as if she's about to crack up laughing throughout half these songs is just really good to listen to. she sounds as though she had loads of fun making the album (and she's funny, too, which helps. "i got a BOYFRIEND, we like to FIGHT A LOT. we got a lot in common: he thinks i FUCKING ROCK.") (nb 'rule breaker' is hilarious but as suspected 'ragdoll', despite being less quotable, is the better song and the one i return to more.)

uh sorry for shouting drunkenly last nite, y'all deserved it upthread when i was actually sober, contra mdc's assumption, but i was just taking out annoyance at some other lame threads i saw and didn't want to dignify with my presence. miller is still laaaaame and boring though.

lex pretend, Friday, 6 June 2008 07:28 (nine years ago) Permalink

Nah, it's good to have the drunken Lex back.

I listened to some of this on the tube this morning but the bits that didn't remind me of Gwen reminded me of Hazel O'Connors more uptempo tracks from the Breaking Glass soundtrack and neither of those float my boat.

The version I have just has a big gap in the I fucking rock bit where the swear is which was a little disconcerting.

Raw Patrick, Friday, 6 June 2008 09:11 (nine years ago) Permalink

some people just ain't cut out for HARDMAN status

-- gershy, Sunday, 14 October 2007 19:11 (7 months ago) Bookmark Link

The stickman from the hilarious "xkcd" comics, Friday, 6 June 2008 12:01 (nine years ago) Permalink

wtf at ilx: gershy gone, blount and lex back?

the parallels with the tory resurgence are to obvious to point out.

banriquit, Friday, 6 June 2008 12:02 (nine years ago) Permalink

big gap in the I fucking rock bit where the swear is

When did they start doing this, having NO available version where you can actually hear someone say "fuck"? Ruins one of the best lines on the Britney album, too ("just save your foolishness and fuckery I'm handlin' my bidness"). In the liner notes, they don't even print the swear words, or acknowledge there's an edit -- it just says "we got a lot in common and he thinks I rock."

dabug, Friday, 6 June 2008 12:48 (nine years ago) Permalink

three weeks pass...

Fuck this bulshit from a hater.

Raw Patrick, Monday, 30 June 2008 14:26 (nine years ago) Permalink

resembles the sound of an abattoir for Tamagotchis


Alex in NYC, Monday, 30 June 2008 14:37 (nine years ago) Permalink

That's a good piece of writing, whether I agree with it or not.

cecelia, Monday, 30 June 2008 14:39 (nine years ago) Permalink

I mean it makes me want to listen to it.

cecelia, Monday, 30 June 2008 14:40 (nine years ago) Permalink

Then it went off the rails drastically. We started becoming obsessed with meta.


banriquit, Monday, 30 June 2008 14:42 (nine years ago) Permalink

four weeks pass...

I really don't like this, there's a half decent pop record lurking in there somewhere but the whole stiffness of the sound really bugs me. There's a decent pop record lurking in there somewhere but it's like all personality has been systematically sanded away.

There's a richness in her voice in Boys that's just totally lacking elsewhere. If she sounds this bored how can she expect anyone else to be entertained?

Matt DC, Monday, 28 July 2008 10:03 (nine years ago) Permalink

Matt did you ever hear I Am Me? A much better record in my opinion.

I don't think I've gone back to Bittersweet World since I last posted to this thread.

Tim F, Monday, 28 July 2008 10:40 (nine years ago) Permalink

three years pass...

this is easily the ashlee simpson album i've returned to least but "boys" is such a fantastic summer jame

lex pretend, Thursday, 22 March 2012 11:54 (five years ago) Permalink


lex pretend, Thursday, 22 March 2012 11:54 (five years ago) Permalink

lex pretend, Thursday, 22 March 2012 11:54 (five years ago) Permalink

never liked that 1

tracks i come back to on this:

little ms obsessive
bittersweet world
outta my head
nvr dream alone

johnny crunch, Thursday, 22 March 2012 12:12 (five years ago) Permalink

love this album, albeit less than her previous two

soooo huge. the verses are so moody and perfect


& she never fails with the closing ballad. "never dream alone" is jaw-dropping.

the backgrounded vocals <3

nights will come and go...
you'll never dream alone...

"murder" is a riot

would argue there's not an actively poor song on any of her albums

nowadays suckers seem to be so fucking naïve (uberweiss), Thursday, 22 March 2012 12:20 (five years ago) Permalink

"little miss obsessive" is def the standout, it's just less summery and so

lex pretend, Thursday, 22 March 2012 13:24 (five years ago) Permalink

autobiography / love makes the world go round / better off / LOVE ME FOR ME / boyfriend / coming back for more / dancing alone / catch me when i fall / i am me / eyes wide open / outta my head / boys / little miss obsessive

those are the 10/10 all-timers imo

lex pretend, Thursday, 22 March 2012 13:26 (five years ago) Permalink

shadow + la la is the best 1-2 punch in history

nowadays suckers seem to be so fucking naïve (uberweiss), Thursday, 22 March 2012 14:00 (five years ago) Permalink

seven months pass...

am i really the first person to post about this? what has happened to our borad

(i like this btw)

maura, Wednesday, 31 October 2012 22:06 (five years ago) Permalink

omg this sounds amazing

Matt Armstrong, Wednesday, 31 October 2012 22:11 (five years ago) Permalink

is it already gone or? i dont see anything there

johnny crunch, Wednesday, 31 October 2012 22:29 (five years ago) Permalink

is back, im down

johnny crunch, Wednesday, 31 October 2012 23:11 (five years ago) Permalink


this is very promising

lex pretend, Thursday, 1 November 2012 12:22 (five years ago) Permalink

three weeks pass...

Matt Armstrong, Sunday, 25 November 2012 05:43 (five years ago) Permalink

i quite like this

#YOLO ONO (lex pretend), Sunday, 25 November 2012 09:16 (five years ago) Permalink

one month passes...

I think this song is abjectly horrible

Bel-Air the Fresh Prince, sitting in a chair (DJP), Friday, 18 January 2013 19:23 (five years ago) Permalink

I enjoyed it for about 40 seconds.

the little prince of inane false binary hype (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 18 January 2013 19:31 (five years ago) Permalink


maura, Friday, 18 January 2013 22:23 (five years ago) Permalink

man how could you not dig this song

Matt Armstrong, Saturday, 19 January 2013 03:07 (five years ago) Permalink

lmao @ wentz subtweet

the legend of bigger yansh (some dude), Saturday, 19 January 2013 03:52 (five years ago) Permalink

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