Has Ashlee Simpson completely lost it? In the singer’s video for “Out of My Head (Ay Ya Ya),” which she shot last week with director Alan Ferguson, she goes from talk therapy to straitjackets in short order, and she’s literally bouncing off the walls.
“It’s probably the weirdest video I’ve seen of hers,” her boyfriend Pete Wentz, who was on set, told MTV News. “It’s like a Salvador Dalí painting meets ‘Being John Malkovich.’ She just went to this weird place for it. It has this kind of multiple personality, like the song does.”
In the video, Ashlee hears voices — though they aren’t in her head; they’re the voices of her family, record executives, fans, haters and the media. The opinion overload is driving her crazy, so, according to the video’s treatment, she seeks counseling. But her therapist, played by the song’s producer, Timbaland , hasn’t mastered the art of listening. He interrupts her in a strange drone that makes him sound like the teacher from Charlie Brown cartoons.
From there, things just get worse. As the song’s beat kicks in, the therapist’s office walls melt, and Ashlee finds herself in the middle of a surrealistic landscape, with clouds moving in reverse, melting clocks going backward and a giant Rubik’s cube trying to solve itself in the sky. Timbo, now looking like Sigmund Freud, asks, “Am I getting on your nerves?” A chattering mob — including media members with cameras and tape recorders for heads — is closing in, so Ashlee runs away, only to stumble on the massive head of a statue, which looks a lot like her. The head opens its eyes and sings, “What, is that all you got to say? What, what, you’re rubbing me the wrong way.”
Seeing a freestanding doorway on the horizon, Ashlee runs through it, slams the door and finds herself in a futuristic recording studio where the instruments play themselves, just like in Herbie Hancock’s “Rocket” video. Timbaland is behind the mixing board, so Ashlee relaxes for a moment and steps into the booth to sing the first verse. But her respite is soon over, as people come in and start to flood both Ashlee and Tim with their questions and points of view. Ashlee attacks one executive with a mic stand, but when he falls, he splinters into dozens of tiny versions of himself, and the singer faints at the sight. When she wakes, she finds herself bound to the studio floor by cables, as if she’s now caught in “Gulliver’s Travels” and everyone else has been shrunk down to Lilliputian size. She breaks free, sending the tiny people flying, and when she sits up, she’s seemingly safe in her own bedroom.
But when she opens the door, it looks like a music video is being shot in the hallway, by a director who has a motion-picture camera for a head. He yells, “Action!” and a puzzled Ashlee sees her spitting image (dressed like Missing Persons’ Dale Bozzio) get up and sing, “Ay Ya Ya!” But when she gets to the lyric where she orders people to “Get outta my head,” the fake Ashlee collapses. The real Ashlee gasps, causing everyone to notice her. She runs for the studio door, only to find herself back in surreal land, where even her own body doesn’t look real anymore.
Defending herself with parts of the melting clock, Ashlee is captured by two men in white with a padded wagon, who put her in a padded room and a straitjacket. She springs from the floor and sticks high on the walls, leaping and sticking to opposite walls as the attendants try to reach her, until ultimately, she’s hanging upside down. Her chaperoned visitors and the attendants are finally speechless.