A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
There was some sweetness, a kind of goofy charm, to Ashlee Simpson's debut album that is completely lacking on her sophomore effort, I AM ME. Starting with the insert photos, in which the young singer seems intent on not cracking a smile, the whole project smacks of humorless self-importance and an absolute deficiency of soul. One reason the album falls flat are the songs themselves -- all co-written by (guess who) Ashlee herself. It's no surprise that a young artist so narcissistic as to title her first two albums Autobiography and I Am Me might come up with songs that portray a particularly self-absorbed world view. Personal revelation can be wonderful when accompanied by compassion; but not as charming when revealed as naked ambition with less than a teaspoonful of talent.
Is it any good?
The appealing musical hooks that keep the CD from drowning are all provided by producer/keyboardist/bassist/guitarist John Shanks, who should get some credit for saving what is savable. But at the end of the day, this much intensity without a drop of generosity or passion gets really boring, really fast.