Thursday, October 20, 2005
  Haha...oh sorry were you being serious?

Just as I predicted, Ashlee Simpson's hair was just as fake as her authenticity to sing live. So with the release of her new album 'I Am Me', like most pop "artistes", she came with a new look. Entertainment Weekly also reviews her sophomore release and just as I expected, it got a C-. The popular trend of adolesent girls abandoning a college education for a career in the pop industry only seems to be popping out 'musical biographies' about themselves, not music. That is probably quite evident from Simpson's latest album title.

Entertainment Weekly: The title is also an extension of her shtick. Sure, she screws up, doesn't always sing in key or dance well, and can't decide on her hair color. But that's okay, because she's a regular person, just like you and me! You have a problem with that?

Not surprisingly, an air of defensiveness and self-pity hangs over Simpson's second album. "Beautifully Broken" ("It seems like yesterday that my world fell from the sky") and "Catch Me When I Fall" allude to life after her post-Saturday Night Live lip-synch train wreck, even if the wound was self-inflicted. In "L.O.V.E.," she implores "all my girls" to gather 'round for support; in "Dancing Alone," she asserts that "it's my life, I'm doing fine."

"Hollywood sucks you in, but it won't spit me out," she semi-snarls in "Boyfriend," which finds Simpson rhyming "for sure" and "my tour," certainly two phrases of equal importance in her universe.

But who is this "me," anyway? Little Ashlee was, of course, never the "bad-ass girl" she claimed to be on her debut, 2004's gangly "Autobiography," which proved definitively that ersatz punk was the new middle-of-the-road pop.

"I Am Me" does at least confirm that she's a producer's dream: a singer of no discernible personality who can be altered to suit the demands of the marketplace. With its shameless knockoffs of Gwen Stefani (the cheerleader bop of "L.O.V.E."), U2 (the stadium-rock throb of "Dancing Alone"), and Fiona Apple (the piano ballad "Catch Me When I Fall"), "I Am Me" practically amounts to a NOW tribute album. Every song feels like a retread of some hit you've heard before, somewhere.

Medical science should really classify blonde hair as a disease. Symptoms include low general knowledge and excessive use of the word "whateverrr!" Ashlee exclaims during an interview, presumably in defence of her Saturday Night Live lip-synching fiasco,"It's like, I'm real - I promise!"

New York (AP): "There's always going to be that divide when it comes to pop music," says Craig Marks, editor-in-chief of Blender magazine, which is putting Simpson on its December cover. "Certain segments of the audience are always going to be distrustful of music that they feel is not authentic. If you get all caught up in notions of realness and authenticity, then Ashlee is going to strike you as being girlish ... and not serious."

Those "certain segments" felt vindicated when the wheels fell off the Simpson machine on "Saturday Night Live." In an endlessly replayed moment, Simpson was preparing to perform, microphone at her waist, when a track started blaring her voice singing "Pieces of Me" -- which she had already sung earlier. The mortified Simpson tried to play it off with a hokey dance, only adding to the embarrassment.

In an instant, Simpson became the nation's favorite pinata -- another Milli Vanilli pseudo singer who couldn't hack it live. A Web site petition demanded a refund for her album; she was booed at halftime of the Orange Bowl college football championship.
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