The singer wants unconditional acceptance from her man (“Love Me for Me”) and appreciates it when it happens (“Pieces of Me”). She finds inner peace and relational harmony after escaping her sister’s “Shadow.” “Giving It All Away” encourages a hurting friend, “Slow down and just look a little closer/You might find that it’s not the end.”
The public image Simpson carves out on the title track is that of a “sexy, nasty, bad-a– girl in this messed up world” (she uses the s-word in the process). Profanity mars other songs as well. A disturbing blend of sex and violence runs through “Lala,” on which a woman invites abuse and talks of rough sex on the kitchen floor. Lines on “Better Off,” “Love Me for Me” and “Unreachable” suggest sexual relationships outside of marriage. Breakup tunes display dysfunction and codependency (“Nothing New,” “Undiscovered”).
They both have popular reality shows on MTV. But that’s where the similarities between Ashlee Simpson and sugary pop sis Jessica end. “We have to make sure you’re the opposite of your sister,” the girls’ manager father told his latest starlet (Entertainment Weekly, 8/23/04). Mission accomplished. Musically, Ashlee favors Avril Lavigne, Courtney Love or a moody Michelle Branch. Lyrically, she relies on profanity and bad-girl sexuality. It seems the family cares more about Ashlee’s dye job than how her anti-Jessica image might impact teenagers.
After serving as an associate editor at NavPress’ Discipleship Journal and consulting editor for Current Thoughts and Trends, Adam now oversees the editing and publishing of Plugged In’s reviews.