If Jessica Simpson's little sister was half as bad as she wants us to believe, she would make Courtney Love look like Mother Teresa. "You can throw me like a lineman/I like it better when it hurts," she sings on "LaLa." Throughout this 12-song debut, Simpson's lyrics are filled with diary jottings that she thinks are revealing but are really not much more than yawn-inducing cliches. On the title track she says, "Sometimes I get dark," but you can't help believe she's just talking about her hair color. What we get are mostly generic, guitar-driven anthems that try to squeeze into Avril Lavigne-like turf and are clearly designed to create some distance between Ashlee and her pop-oriented, sunshine sister. Simpson has a raspy voice and shows some grit, but it often gets buried in John Shanks's blustery production. There are times -- as on the hit single "Pieces of Me" -- when she shows quirky charm and it's clear that if she stopped trying so hard attempting to come across as hard, she might actually be affecting. But there's more banality than carnality going on here. One song is actually called "Love Makes the World Go Round," which gives an idea of the original thinking involved.
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