Sound — 10
I am now a huge fan of Ashlee Simpson. Her album is amazing. Her first single, "Pieces of Me," does not do justice to what lies in this record. Produced by my favorite (John Shanks), this album is great. The sound is more pop-py than Ashlee made herself seem on her reality show, but overall it is a good pop/rock blend. The guitars sound great, and I love the acoustic sound on the slower ballads.
Lyrics — 10
I was very impressed by Ashlee's writing skills. When I first heard that she was going to be making an album, I thought "great, another product of Hollywood who's famous by default," but I was clearly wrong. Writing with John Shanks gives her songs a semi-Michelle Branch type sound, but she definitely has her own style. I loved the fact that her songs are not all about love, being in love, or hating love. She writes about things that most people can relate to in other situations as well. As for her voice, I was impressed here as well. After hearing her sister scream the way she does (and overdoes I might add), I was expecting Ashlee to be somewhat similar. This girl knows her boundaries and doesn't attempt to cross them. She's in key, sounds great, and I love singing along to her. She's got a great range as well. In sum, she did surprise me with her singing ability. The raspy sounds usually turn me off, but she can actually make herself sound pretty too.
Overall Impression — 10
I think Ashlee should be thrown into the category with young songwriters such as Michelle Branch, Avril Lavigne, and Vanessa Carlton. She writes her own music, and has songs with substance. My favorite songs on this album are the upbeat "Surrender," and the guitar driven ballad, "Undiscovered." I love the sound and the fullness of the background. I dislike the 'squeaky-ness' in Ashlee's voice at certain times. I would absolutely buy this album again if it was lost or stolen. It is one that I am happy to have in my collection.