I Am Me
Ashlee Simpson is nostalgic for an era she’s too young to remember first-hand. Born in 1985, the younger sister of reality-TV (and oh yeah, music) superstar Jessica is steeped in the ‘80s heyday of Joan Jett and Pat Benatar. Like her debut Autobiography, I Am Me plays like a missive from a talented Valley girl’s bedroom. One song (“Burning Up”) borrows its title from an MTV-favorite track from the first Madonna album, while another, “Dancing Alone,” takes verbal cues from Billy Idol and the Cure. The strongest cut, “Boyfriend,” is the kind of bratty snipe that Jett would’ve been proud to snarl in her commercial prime. Given Jett’s ties to the golden age of manufactured pop (her cover of “Crimson and Clover” in particular), Simpson is more closely related to this ‘80s superstar than to her own blood sibling.