A Review of Musical Recordings: Ashlee Simpson’s “I Am Me”

ashlee simpson

by Richie Van Der Loe
(as taken from the Village Vocalization, Katharinetowne, WD).

The title of this work conveys to the listener the obvious; there exists, between the substantive and the existential, a moment of reinforced clarity at indifferent odds with our psychological urge to commence a fugue-driven abandonment of the self. When forced to confront the self, one cannot with certainty know, that is to say even understand, the self; whether it is the all-embracing truth we accept of ourselves and our place in existence or whether the self is the archetypal monster in the shadows from which we hide. Perhaps expression is not the battleground, but rather the battle itself, for when we express ourselves, we create and in that act attempt to forge a new self as a protective junction against reality. But, this all obvious, especially made expressly obvious by Ashley Simpson’s chronicling of her own journey, i.e. battle, in the wondrously titled “I Am Me.” It is at once obtuse and obduce.

“I Am Me” is a rich meta-statement, replete with intriguing queries into the modern understanding of both the psychological being and the place of gender-mode thought in society. It presents not only a definition of the self, but also places the self outside the boundaries of bimodal gender philosophy. Indeed, the present tense situation describes not a reflection, but a statement of defiance. Yet, is also positive declaratory statement which addresses the concepts of division in society by deliberately side-stepping sexual-based pronouns, instead utilizing the neutral form. Gone is the “She is Her” mode of sexual buccaneers such as Courtney Love or Joan Jett, replaced by the affirmation of equality and questioning of morays heralded by Elizabeth Cady Stanton. It is a rich statement that at once upholds and challenges. Instead of merely accepting the modernization and mechanization of the twentieth-century philosophy of humans as machines, it redefines the idea of humanity for a twenty-first century holistic worldview which, while rejecting the notions of classical humanism, still allies itself with the post-modern view of human as psychological animal in the midst of a mechanically operating universe. The self is neutral, yet positive.

Arguably, the post-Soviet American hegemony parallels the post-Empire United Kingdom, that period of traumatic and disillusioning zeitgeist in which the punk movement arose as a counter-point to contemporary conflicts between economic schools of thought, i.e. Marxism versus Capitalism. Contemporaries of The Clash, as had been shown, followed a philosophy which gave voice to the notion of “We are Us,” presenting themselves as a counter-force, or third faction, in the traditional economic conflicts. While it would seem that “I Am Me” would reflect a certain Reaganary world-view, Simpson’s cry echoes the monetary hedonists of the 80s while incorporating their trade-marks into the 90s spiritual hedonism and the 00’s intellectual hedonism. When the mainstream represents a non-progressive ideology, it becomes necessary for artists to issue more open and enlightened contexts for the discussion of the self. This is clearly heard on the album “I Am Me” but is also completely evident in the title itself.

One could assume that Bachman Turner Overdrive, Rush, or even Styx had already explored everything that the musical palate could form in a way ready for human mental consumption. While these groups, or bands, did enable humanity to redefine itself in terms of social parallax, they were never able to produce a statement as profound as Ashlee Simpson’s “I Am Me.” After giving this record a listen or two, it’s easy to agree. Truly, Ashlee Simpson is Ashlee Simpson.

Reject All American

kathleen hanna

When you examine the facts completely, it is quite easy to see that indie rocker and Riot Grrl founder Kathleen Hanna hates America and supports terrorism. Why, these findings should be obvious to anyone who has done any research into Hanna’s personal life, beliefs, actions and statements. Time after time, the fierce and aggressive Hanna passionately calls for violence, murder and bloody revolution. Truly she is a terrifying menace.

Note the name of Hanna’s first band. It’s not Bikini Negotiate, it’s Bikini Kill, because she believes that killing through violence is the only means to achieve her goals. Of course, she has also acted as a guest for the band Atari Teenage Riot, while strangely never appearing on a single recording of rival band Atari Teenage Peaceful Gathering. Her writing even appeared in the Xerographic magazine Revolution Girl Style Now, the title of which suggests that Hanna supports the immediate overthrow of the lawfully elected United States Government, via a girl themed revolution.

Even Hanna’s musical lyrics show her violent and terroristic hatred of America. Of the terror attacks she states in Lil Red “You are not the victim, but you try to make it that way…All you do is destroy / All you do is f*ck up / All you ever do is take take” thus blaming the attacks not on the terrorists, but on America’s capitalism and foreign policy decisions. In Double Dare Ya, Hanna brazenly commands her elite Riot Grrl legions to take to the streets, perhaps in a riot, by stating “We want revolution…You’ve got no reason not to fight.”

Later on This is Not a Test she continues to threaten American society and lawful government with violence “You don’t make all the rules, yeah! / I know what I’m gonna fuckin do/ Me and my girlfriends gonna push on thru / We are gonna stomp on you, yeah!” It should be noted that many Riot Grrls wear large boots and could cause internal trauma or death via their stomping.

And let us not forget her most obvious anti-American manifesto, the aptly titled album Reject All American. In this most horrid attack, Hanna demands “loads of execution” and “more fear.” Fear, is of course, another word for terror. And yes, Hanna does demand that her brainwashed followers reject “All American,” likely including American made manufactured goods and sacred American institutions such as Democracy, Freedom and the Post Office.

While no Le Tigre lyrics specifically mention hatred of America, it’s probable that the name Le Tigre is a reference to General Yamashita Tomoyuki, the so-called “Tiger of Malaya” who committed numerous war crimes against Americans, including the infamous Bataan Death March. Only someone who vehemently hated America would want to honor this butcher and murderer by naming their band after him.

Why Kathleen Hanna has not been imprisoned and put on trial for treason is a mystery. All good Americans should call for Hanna and her Riot Grrl legions to be arrested immediately and their poorly Xeroxed zines and Emily the Strange paraphernalia confiscated as evidence.

TheSTART Ciao, Baby

music review

Ciao, Baby
2007 Metropolis Records

Los Angeles based indie band TheSTART has just released their third album Ciao, Baby. While the previous albums Shakedown! and Initiation skillfully combined pop, punk, dance, industrial and new wave, Aimee Echo and Jamie Miller have changed their tune and their tunes slightly with their 2007 effort. The self-produced album features a stripped down, straight forward new wave sound that still occasionally bounces back to TheSTART’s signature industrial layers and crowd-pleasing pop roots.

Positive Elements

“Runaway” states that hard work is the key to success and that nothing is free. Aimee Echo admits that there are no excuses for her sins and negative behaviors and that her sins have left her spiritually bruised.

Spiritual Content
A romantic partner is described as sucking a woman’s soul. The singer asks her lover to “purify my endless sin” and seeks redemption and salvation from this obviously flawed person. On “Millionaire” singer Aimee Echo talks about selling her soul in exchange for romantic love and states that God has forsaken her. Echo states on one song that nothing can bring her down from the heights she’s reached and that Hell’s flames cannot touch her. A lover is described as a “demon in disguise.” Sex is described as a miracle.

Sexual Content

While there is no graphic sexual content on Ciao, Baby, almost every song on the album revolves around romantic relationships, specifically failed romantic relationships.

Violent Content

“Blood on My Hands” and “Runaway” mention shooting loaded firearms, breaking bones and blood as metaphors for a failed romantic relationship. One song mentions a revolution and contains the repeated refrain that Paris is burning. War and battles are used as metaphors for intimate relationships.


Drug or Alcohol Content
Two songs mention empty bottles or the singer’s laments on the negative results from drinking and alcoholism.

Crude or Profane Language

Ciao, Baby features almost no swearing whatsoever. The word “tool” is used as an insult.

Other Negative Elements
Many songs reference lying or dishonesty within relationships, often as putting on a mask, a disguise or a front as a way to escape from negative emotions. “Just a Fantasy” is a song filled with loathsome insults and disparaging comments toward an ex-lover.


Lyricist Aimee Echo unfortunately seems to revel in misery and sadness, almost to the point of pride. She wears her broken past and romantic failures on her sleeve and crafts virtually ever song around the themes of dejection, misery, rejection and pain. It seems that Echo has at least discovered half the truth; that a life of sexual hedonism leads only to pain. But she has yet to learn the converse of that lesson; that Christ’s love can liberate us from the cycle of pain and that, ironically, serious commitment to a monogamous partner is truly emotionally liberating. While Christians will experience the emotional wreckage of failed relationships, they need not dwell on that pain as we can always find joy and real redemption in God’s love. For teens, the pain of a breakup or rejection is magnified by the stress of major life changes, and during that tumultuous time teens need to take comfort in God’s love instead of putting TheSTART on the stereo and dwelling in their pain. Full of darkness and misery, this is one album that your family should say ciao, auf vedersain, goodbye to.

For More on TheSTART visit their website: www.thisisthestart.com.

Seven Cures for Procrastination to Try Someday

An Editorial by Faith DaBrooke


If you’ve decided to make significant use of your time by attempting to read this article, I’m certain that you are eager to be led toward a straight-forward, painless solution to your procrastination dilemma. This assumption, however, leads me to believe that your impatience has prevented you from following through with any previous step-by-step solution. Therefore, do not stop reading, for this article has so far put you on the verge of overcoming your addiction to delaying progress. You are now partially on your way to abolishing the procrastination which has held you firmly in bondage.

Your friends and family are probably fed up with your excuses and justifications and are most likely frustrated by your apparent lack of mental capacity. Perhaps they wonder why they’ve been forced to take a part in the drama that is your self-perpetuating failure. Indeed, you’ve come to regard yourself as a failure and are depressed my the misassumption that life is beyond your control.

Always remember, work begun is half done, and now I shall unquestionably be in jam for ripping off Mary Poppins. If you read the previous sentence, then you have just progressed half-way towards finding the solution to your unwillingness to lead a life of productive activity.

First of all, before you continue reading, you must confront your denial. Put aside your pitiful excuses and say out loud “I have a problem.” Retreat from blaming external sources, such as alcoholism or a lack of electricity. Did that work? Good. Soon, you will learn how to demolish the problem that complicates your life and causes stress and anxiety, leading inevitably, to sickness and death. But do not despair, for you are on your way to resolving what is universally deemed the most anxiety-provoking situation since the beginning of time.

Statistics show that individuals do not like stress, specifically work-related stress. How often have you been depressed by thoughts such as “there’s always tomorrow” directly followed by “there’s never any time!” These thoughts lead to feelings of dread and indifference towards accomplishing anything meaningful. In turn, you will procrastinate and drown yourself in more dismay. The cycle of anxiety and procrastination is infinite and was unstoppable, at least until the creation of this article.

Therefore, my advice to you is as follows: never procrastinate! For if you do, you may end up composing solutions to procrastination and will never arrive at any solution because you’ve simply run out of time.

By reading this article, you have struck procrastination to the ground as soon as it has reared its ugly head. Congratulations! You have now conquered your inconvenient behavioral pattern. So don’t despair, you have just succeeded in your pursuit by completing this insightful composition and by not allowing your impatience to provoke you into destroying this article in a fit of anger. Huzzah!

With Special Thanks to Irene Baras