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Music The Sound

Ashlee Simpson: What went wrong?

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Poor old Ashlee Simpson. Despite featuring contributions from Timbaland, The Neptunes' Chad Hugo, Santogold, Kenna and... err... Tom Higgenson from Plain White T's, her Bittersweet World album didn't even make the Top 40 on Sunday's album chart.

"Oh dear," you're probably thinking, "but it's bound to have done much better in the States." Well, you'd be right, but also a little bit wrong. Though Bittersweet World debuted at number four on the US albums chart, it sold just 47,000 copies in its first seven days of release. That's 173,000 down on the opening week tally for Ashlee's previous album, 2005's I Am Me. Ouch indeed.

On paper Bittersweet World had plenty going for it - hip producers, a fantastic lead single and video in 'Outta My Head (Ay Ya Ya)', a singer who'd finally started to take some creative chances - so what went wrong? We've come up with five theories:

1. People who'd enjoyed Ashlee Simpson's old pop/rock sound were put off by the hipper, dancier stylings of 'Outta My Head'.

2. People just didn't believe that Ashlee Simpson had come up with something as brilliant as 'Outta My Head'.

3. After four years of seeing her on MTV, reading about her in the gossip rags and hearing her songs on the radio, people have just had enough of Ashlee Simpson.

4. Ashlee Simpson deliberately released an album with dodgy sales prospects so she could enjoy a nice, long maternity leave.

5. People didn't recognize Ashlee Simpson after her recent nose job and were thus unable to find Bittersweet World in the shops. We'll call this the 'Jennifer Grey Effect'.

The second single from Bittersweet World, 'Little Miss Obsessive', is released over here on August 4. It's a decent enough tune, not a million miles away from 'Pieces of Me', but we can't see it reviving the album's fortunes. To be honest, it's going to take a duet with hubbie - accompanied by a video featuring a cameo from Baby Simpson-Wentz - to turn this one into a best-seller.

Why do you think Ashlee Simpson's album is under-performing? Does it deserve better? Use the space below to have your say.

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