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Bittersweet World

56 customer reviews

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Audio CD, April 22, 2008
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Bittersweet World is the third studio album by singer Ashlee Simpson. She worked on the album with producers Timbaland, Chad Hugo, and Kenna. It has been described by Simpson as a "fun party album" with a "silly and quirky" side and some influence from 1980s music. She describes it as having a more beat-oriented sound than her first two albums, Autobiography and I Am Me, although still retaining some of those albums' guitar-based sound.

About the Artist

Ashlee Simpson is in a good place. She has two multi-platinum records that debuted back to back at the top of the charts, and collectively sold more than four million copies in the U.S. alone. She has two sold-out tours under her belt, a tight-knit family, a loyal fan base, and a burgeoning second career as an actress. So when it came time to create her third album, she wanted the music to represent where she was at in life.

"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."

And when an artist wants to get the party started, who better to call than Timbaland? The producing powerhouse, who helped shape recent smash hits by Justin Timberlake and Nelly Furtado, toiled on 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."

She quickly learned that hip-hop heroes move at a different pace than pop stars. "I have never worked until 4 a.m. before. I wouldn't go in until late in the afternoon and then we'd work until the wee hours of morning if we had it in us. I started bringing a blanket with me. I got a little loopy and punchy late at night, which affected some of the songs. It was so cool for me to be able to step outside of the way I had always done it before and try new things."

The album's lead single, "Little Miss Obsessive," returns the artist to her pop/rock roots and features guest vocals from the Plain White T's Tom Higgenson. With another track on the album, "Murder," don't let the somber title fool you. The 23-year-old has not gone gangsta.

"No, it isn't serious, based on a true story or a threat," she explains laughing. "It's a metaphor about a girl who can get away with murder because of who she is. The lyrics should be followed by an exaggerated evil laugh." She also touches on the cattiness of girls on "Hot Stuff," a coquette-ish sassiness on "Boys" and how fun it is to sometimes do the wrong thing on "Rule Breaker." She was trying "to capture that badass feeling you get sometimes after watching a movie like True Romance. You think you can take on the world and you want to color outside the lines and get a tattoo or mouth off to someone way bigger than you."

Her personal favorite is the slow jam "Never Dream Alone," because "it is a sweet emotional song that has been stripped down to piano, strings and vocals."

The old saying, "The more things change, the more they stay the same," also applies despite the fresh techniques and talent. For instance, she still lights tons of candles and brings in a few dolls to make the space more comfortable. She also wrote or co-wrote every track and the final product is a mix of ballads, radio-friendly anthems and dance floor ditties per usual.

"I never want to be handed a song to sing. I don't work that way. This is my art and it's personal. If someone else writes the song without my input, it doesn't feel honest."

Ashlee continues to cull from her own experiences or things she witnesses those around her weathering for lyrical subject matter, but says most verses aren't as literal as they have been on past singles. "Lyrically this album is a bit more abstract and quirky than my past stuff was although I'm still singing about things I've gone through or friends went through. The topics are diverse and universal so I think people will be able to fit the songs into their own lives too."

Her favorite collaborative partner is still her childhood friend/band guitarist Ray Brady. "I trust him completely. He plays on every track and is my sounding board. We sit in a corner writing and working out alternative versions to play live. He's always introducing me to new music that helps me evolve as an artist."

One such act Brady brought into her life was Missing Persons and Ashlee's never been the same. "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."

The veteran of two sold-out tours can't wait to get back on the road again. "That's my favorite part of the job. I love playing live and seeing up close and personal how your music affects other people. I love seeing the reactions on fan faces and hearing them sing along. I want them to go on this journey with me."

Now with accolades such as Billboard Artist of the Year (2004), two Teen Choice Awards, countless magazine covers and appearances and performances on shows as varied as MTV Video Music Awards, Teen Choice Awards, and the American Music Awards to her credit, and an exciting new album to look forward to, no doubt the future will continue to be bright for Ashlee Simpson. "The most important thing is that this is something I really enjoy doing," she says. "I love creating and participating in projects people can connect to."

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 22, 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Geffen Records
  • ASIN: B000Y9OOV8
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #47,747 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Josephll on April 22, 2008
Format: Audio CD
Ashlee Simpson is a typical product of pop culture, she' not a particularly talented vocalist nor trendsetting artist (rather trend searching), but she's Jessica Simpsons little sister and if you ever watch MTV or read celebrity tabloids you'll know who she is, atleast by name. But apart from her older sister who's actually a good singer sticking to catchy pop songs and classic ballads, Ashlee is a rebel. She always did the opposite of her sister to not end up in her shadow, on her 2004 debut album Autobiography we found her doing a pop/rock take closer to Pink and Avril Lavigne then anything. The end result was positive reviews and big hit single with "Pieces of Me" that actually was more succesful then the singles her sister came out with that year. But then at a saturday night live performence disaster stroke when Ashlee was found lipsynching. Critics were fast to question her vocal capacity and she ended up feeling humiliated. Therefor her sophmore album I Am Me was a U-turn with much harder, more rock oriented themes but less hooky or entertaining. While the album still went platinum and a couple of singles went fine on the charts, it was a dissapointing and it didn't recieve alot of good words from critics. Considering Ashlee is known for switching trends as often as Liz Taylor switched husbands it ain't too surprising that her third album "Bittersweet World" is as diffrent as her sophmore was from her debut.Read more ›
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Amanda Richards HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on May 3, 2008
Format: Audio CD
Ashlee Simpson's third album is a collection of pop/dance tracks sleekly produced by the "popular guys" like Timbaland and Chad Hugo. To her credit, Simpson co-wrote all the songs on the album, and barring any lip-syncing accidents, it should do just fine.

Not the strongest of vocalists, Simpson relies on dance beats and catchy choruses, a prime example being first single "Outta My Head (Ay Ya Ya)" which has both. A better song that's a little more Avril Lavigne pop/rock-y is the second single "Little Miss Obsessive", which is about a break-up for which reconciliation isn't quite out of the question.

"Boys" is a funny upbeat track, while "Rule Breaker" sounds like something intended for Gwen Stefani, as does "Ragdoll". "Hot Stuff" is another funny dance track, and you won't be able to resist the disco beat. "Murder" has an interesting Eastern vibe which partially makes up for lyrics. The album ends with the simple and unimpressive ballad "Never Dream Alone", but the weakest track in every way is the title track, sorry to say.

Completely and thoroughly mainstream pop, get this one just for the fun of it.

Amanda Richards, May 3, 2008
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By aliceinwonderland. on April 30, 2008
Format: Audio CD
It took a whole week of bypassing this album before I decided to just go for it and buy it. Like most people I'm no fan of Ashley herself, but after hearing the first single performed on Ellen I decided to purchase the album.
The artwork for the booklet was bland and disappointing which is another reason it took awhile to make my decision seeing as how I'm normally drawn to albums with great artwork. I was a bit shocked that I enjoyed most of the tracks. They're fun, girly, & danceable. The majority of her lyrics are awkward and confusing, and I get the feeling she's enjoying the sound of her own voice.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Rudolph Klapper on August 10, 2008
Format: Audio CD
Finally, Ashlee has decided to stop pretending that she is a punk rocker. With Bittersweet World, the younger, more tone-deaf Simpson sibling has wholeheartedly embraced the `80s, beat-tastic sound that has been gaining speed in the pop world over the years. With Timbaland and Chad Hugo of the Neptunes producing the majority of the record, it comes as no surprise that her latest is a far cry from the faux-rock that characterized her last two albums.

The result is a mixed bag. Luckily, the emphasis on heavy production and synthed-up beats tend to bury Ashlee's vocals in the mix, and her voice sounds almost as doctored as Paris Hilton's did. Lead single "Outta My Head" is built on a nagging guitar beat and a simple drum machine, but sadly the lyrics are ridiculously inane ("what you lookin' at me for huh? / show me respect or I will show you the door"), and Ashlee fails miserably at sounding sassy.

The album isn't totally worthless, however. For every cringe-inducing break-up song ("Little Miss Obsessive") and pointless bad-girl posturing ("Rule Breaker"), there are a couple bright spots: the dark pulse of "Murder" and the whirling guitar pop of "Ragdoll," and no one can ever accuse Ashlee of lacking energy. All in all, Bittersweet World is more of a party than her earlier efforts, but still a plastic, manufactured one at that.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Ryan on May 1, 2008
Format: Audio CD
Ashlee Simpson makes fun, listenable, pop-rock albums and that's why she has sold millions of records. People may not like her for whatever reason (I think a lot of it is jealousy), but you can't deny the results. On her new album, she takes a different turn to 80's inspired dance-pop with mostly good results.

Personally, I prefer the more rock oriented tracks like "Little Miss Obsessive" (my fav on the album), "No Time for Tears", and "What I've Become", but the bouncy tracks like "Boys" and "Outta My Head" are also fun. "Murder" has a unique beat that gets better with every listen and "Never Dream Alone" is a solid piano ballad that shows Ashlee can really sing. "Bittersweet World" is another cool tune that has a definite Broadway influence. However, there are some throwaway tracks like "Ragdoll" and "Hot Stuff", which is why I gave it 4 stars instead of 5.

If you liked "L.O.V.E." from her last album, you will like this one. Even if you didn't, I would still give this album a listen as it differentiates itself from most of the bland pop on the radio nowadays. Bravo to Ashlee for taking a new direction in her music and not just copying the (successful) formula of her first two albums.
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I loved it! It wasn't what I was expecting at all!!! But I was pleasantly surprized- big time!! This CD to me was trend setting, and hopefully the first of many.
May 14, 2008 by Amy Markle |  See all 2 posts
edited cd?
I think its all edited sadly. Travis McCoy's rap was removed from "Murder" due to lyrical content...which sucks because the editing always ruins songs to be honest :-/
Apr 20, 2008 by SDS |  See all 9 posts
Love Ashlee.
if your interested this is her tracklistings 11 songs.

I heard every songs... Read More
Apr 2, 2008 by MarioKartWii3000 |  See all 4 posts
I love her new album. I heard about 9 songs of hers there 11 tracks on...
if u look at the track listing cant have it all isnt there....... wtf!?!?
Apr 15, 2008 by Kevin M |  See all 2 posts
I am not buying this
And your telling us this... why?
Mar 25, 2008 by Brok Bunnell |  See all 5 posts
Murder is about sex, isn't it? Be the first to reply
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