Remember when we thought of Ashlee Simpson has nothing more than another annoying, reality TV-made pop star who would probably never score a fraction of the success of her big sis? My how things have changed. Ashlee might still be the bane of many music lovers’ existence, but her recent trek into ’80’s-influenced dance-pop have made her harder to hate, while Jessica’s at-once flourishing career has seemingly fizzled out. Following guilty pleasure delights “Outta My Head” and “Boys”, “Ragdoll”, from Ashlee’s playful romp of a third album, Bittersweet World, offers another reason why she’s the Simpson sib to get behind.
A bit Police-reminiscent, the Timbaland-handled joint (that’s also co-written by current blog phenom Santogold) encircles her raspy coo with sharp, ska and punk pop-tinged quirks that bridge the worlds of No Doubt Gwen and “Hollaback Girl” Gwen. Aimed at a “rotten to the core” boy giving her an emotional run-around, Simpson gets increasingly frustrated as her attempts to completely win him over continue to end up unsuccessful.
“Why you gotta throw me around like a rag doll?”, she cries on the infectious hook, her desire for him to “touch me now” inching her ever-so-close to hair-pulling insanity. She would like to think of herself as the kind of tough chick that could bypass someone that consistently leaves her feeling so sour, but his hold over her is too strong to be easily dismissed. So she instead sits by pitifully, waiting for the day he will transform into the prince she wishes him to be, the man who will tenderly wipe away her streaks of “black tears”.
Filled to the brim with numerous lyrical and musical hooks, “Ragdoll” is an infectious ditty that’s just waiting to explode as a sing-along favorite for unappreciated girls everywhere. When is the last time Jessica has had a no-brainer delectable like this in her grasp? Come to think of it…has she ever?