I am going to go out on a limb here – but I imagine the internal checklist that Ashlee Simpson went through before creating her debut album went something like this:
1.) Distance self from older, hot, dopey sister Jessica
2.) Establish street cred by writing own songs
3.) Write very personal songs that will create voyeuristic like mystique
4.) Avoid comparisons to Courtney Love, Alanis Morrisette and Avril Lavigne
5.) AVOID COMPARISONS TO BIG SISTER JESS
6.) ROCK ASS OFF
I am not afraid to say it – I’m a mom, a thirty-something and I dig Ashlee Simpson. Hell, I even like her ditzy big sis Jessica.
While there are few comparisons to be made musically between Jessica and Ashlee – they are sisters and they do have the same parents. So they share some inherent traits.
Both are fresh faced, pretty, earnest and sweet. They seem to be relatively down-to-earth girls. Mom and Dad Simpson must have some good genetic material to work with, plus they have worked very hard at guiding their girls successfully down their respective life and career paths.
Unlike her seemingly empty-headed sister, Ashlee’s a little more worldly and slightly more on top of things. Sharing writing credits on ALL her songs, she also possesses a voice all her own: distinct, not blessed with the honey-like consistency of sister Jess – but soulful, raw and full of character. She reminds me of Courtney Love, but with her underwear and goodness intact.
Ashlee (like sis Jess – as she is referred to) also enjoys the double exposure of having her own show, which chronicles her day to day struggle with promoting her album – including overcoming voice injury, dealing with interfering (but well-meaning) parents, and of course, stepping out of the shadows of her super media-exposed big sis.
She comes across as genuine, but a little over-the-top in her attempts to separate her image from the looming figure that is Jessica Simpson. Admittedly, not an easy feat to achieve. She gets TONS of respect from me though for being her own person and writing her own songs. Let’s see Britney try that.
The entire album is solid, with some noteworthy singles. My favorite, “Pieces of Me” is a superbly crafted pop-rock single, with a catchy refrain.
“Oh it seems like I can finally rest my head on something real
I like the way that feels
Oh it’s as if you know me better than I ever knew myself
I love how you can tell
All the pieces of me
All the pieces of me.”
The title single “Autobiography” is equally rocking, striking an anthemic tone for all the struggling “trying to find myself” post-adolescent young women it’s targeted to.
There are no bad songs on the album. Nice job little ‘sis!