Bittersweet World

Music review by
Jacqueline Rupp, Common Sense Media
Bittersweet World Music Poster Image
Angry-sounding, but benign punk-pop.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this music.

Positive Messages

"Rule Breaker" glamorizes bad behavior: "We tend to smash things/and we like to scream," "Why don't you kiss this?/I'm just a princess," and "I've been reprimanded 'bout a thousand times/I'm a rule breaker."

Violence

The lyrics aren't really violent, just a wee angry: "You tell me one more time how I should live/I swear I'll bite your head off." One song is title "Murder" and although the song is not especially violent it does have the repeated verse, "They say I get away with murder." The overall tone of "Rule Breaker" is aggressive in a pop-punk way. Simpson repeats "I don't wanna fight tonight," but also says things like "You better keep quiet if you want your teeth" and "Because I keep making trouble/get here on the double before I break a little something."

Sex

"I'm your sunshine concubine" (from "Murder") and "You can look but don't touch /Touch my my my hot stuff" (from "Hot Stuff").

Language

One "f--king" is bleeped out.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A brief reference to drinking: "Wake up 'round 3 o'clock/Drink until my tummy full."

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Ashlee Simpson seems a bit angry -- in that pop-punk sort of way -- on this album, and there are some slight sexual references that might not be appropriate for tweens. Simpson described these tracks as party music that's silly and a little absurd. But on many of the tracks, Simpson gets into character to play everything from a tease ("Boys") to a bully ("Rule Breaker") and young listeners might not understand her role playing. Several songs have Simpson playing hard to get and letting everyone know how desirable she is.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bysingersmartguy17 April 9, 2008

Great cd...for older crowd

This cd is so great! As an adult, this is a great cd to play in the car on my way to work...without the kids. This is a cd for older teens. The biggest issue wo... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bythedutchess April 9, 2008

Ashlee's most musically diverse attempt yet

Sexual Content: Nothing excplicit. "I'll be you sunshine concubine" in "Murder", "Here she comes, sunday school girl wanting some... Continue reading

What's the story?

BITTERSWEET WORLD is a collection of retro party tracks and melancholy love songs. Simpson brings rock guitars, punk vocals, and a twinge of hip-hop beats together for a funky album that -- if nothing else -- is fun to listen to.

Is it any good?

If you're not expecting too much from Bittersweet World, you won't be disappointed. Although there are a few tracks on the album that just don't work, like "Rule Breaker" and "Hot Stuff," a lot of it does get it right. Simple, straightforward tracks like "Outta My Head" and "Little Miss Obsessive" are easy to dance to and tough to stop singing. Other tracks like "Murder" and "Boy" effectively use Simpson's baby-girl, yet distinctively clear sound to their advantage. Although the album doesn't tackle any deep moral or social issues or make any musical innovations, it does give a nice array of fairly entertaining tracks that teens will probably love to play loudly.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Simpson's struggle with defining her identity. How does Simpson counter the anti-diva or pop princess clichés? By using sexy lyrics, how does she fall into some of these stereotypes?

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