Ashlee Simpson has veered between acting, pop stardom and reality TV in a career that's taken something of a break in the last few years. The sister of Jessica, her own albums scored big on the US charts (Autobiography and I Am Me debuted at number one) thanks to her MTV reality series The Ashlee Simpson Show. Her 2008 release Bittersweet World, roped in Timbaland and the Neptunes but didn't fare as well with audiences. Aside from some acting that including a turn in the 2009 Melrose Place remake, Simpson has kept a relatively low profile.
On Halloween she tweeted a teaser for a new single, Bat For A Heart complete with a low-fi and interesting visual, Simpson twirling and emoting in black and white while ruffling her short, blonde tresses. Today the full track has appeared on iTunes worldwide.
Linda Perry worked on the track with Simpson and tweeted awhile back that it was a one-take demo that they never returned too. That much is apparent in the loose, simple feel of the production. Oddly enough, it works. Sure, the polish and giant hooks that cemented her biggest hits don't feel as present here but what does exist is a solid chorus and a moody, impressive feel. It's got an 80's indie-kid vibe to match the kind of bratty-pop rock Simpson excelled at with a weird, wobbly piano effect adding some punch halfway through.
The lyrics have already had tabloids in a lather, with the title alone hinting at a reference to her ex-husband Pete Wentz. On the chorus's key line "I'm gonna bang bang, f**k you up/ twist you outside of my head" she sounds defiant and feisty while lines like "my heart is cursed cuz you were never there" suggest more than a touch of sadness.
There's not much info about whether this is the sign of a major label deal or just for hardcore fans (this chat with Nylon from the Summer suggest it's quite informal), but it's a nice reminder that despite all the jibes she received (we're thinking of that infamous SNL moment) Simpson is a popstar with a snarly, unique voice and a decent back catalogue.
Bat For Heart is available now on iTunes, keep an eye on Ashlee's website for more info.