Some Not So Stupid Love Songs
By: Matt Cibula

When our editor saw the cover to this disc, with this attractive
Young black woman all tarted up, he assumed she was an
R&B cutie. But I have a grade-school-age daughter, so I knew better. I knew Fefe Dobson was a Canadian punk-pop
Princess who could belt out rockstuff better than any old Avril,
and I knew I had a new favorite disc for cranking in the car.

Fefe doesn't mess around. The very first song is the very best
Song; if "Stupid Little Love Song" was released as a single, it
Would blow this narrow little world wide open with its tight
Slashing crunching goodness. Not only is it fast and hard and
Funky like a Thierry Henry penalty kick, but it's funny too: our
Protagonist is feeling a little outmatched by her boyfriend's
Super-accomplished family, and doesn't know how to
Deal: "You're on the road to Harvard Law / I'm on the bus to
Arkansas". His mother's a Senator, his dad's got his own talk
Show, he's a big jocky handsome guy, and all she has for him
Is...pause... "Just a stupid little love song!" and they all spazz
Out with the guitars again. I'm not saying it's prime Clash or
Anything, but the way Dobson yells "Put 'em up!" in the
Breaks is pretty inspiring.

Mostly what she does is what Avril does: pop songs with an
Edge that helps the listener feel like they're really going
Through something. "Revolution Song" is a good old-fashioned
Power ballad about fighting some unspecified battle, all lush
And creamy with harmonies and 1970s guitar lines; "Give It
Up" is hair-metal indie-funk girl-rock that sounds like Winger
And Liz Phair at the same time, always a great idea; big
Single "Take Me Away" could fit right in on any Classic Rawk
Hits station, an immediate member of the club. There are a
Lot of guitar sounds here, and they go well with Dobson's
Strong but not screechy voice.

She writes all the songs here, together with some dude
Named Jay "Mentalcase" Levine of something called Lefthook
Productions (Levine also produces, together with fellow
Lefthooker/songwriter James Bryan Mccollum)-I'm assuming
The lyrics are Dobson's and all the musical textures are
Levine's, because that's the way it always works. Having
Made that assumption, I want to say that I really like Fefe
Dobson as a lyricist, especially as a young woman. She's not
Flashy or "clever," but she's solid and she connects. "Bye Bye
Boyfriend" is snotty but forgiving, a nice trick if you can pull it
Off; "We Went for a Ride" is full of that adolescent bubble-gum sadness that has driven all weepy teenage songs
Forever: "I'll be praying for a red light / To extend this
Precious night / Cause we both know where I'm going / And
We know it isn't right". Mysterious! Alluring! S***!

The strongest, if not the best, writing here is in "Unforgiven,"
An angry screed against Dobson's absentee father. It crosses
The line sometimes into sentimentality, but it still carries a
Kick to it. Funner: "Rock It Till You Drop It," which will capture
Your heart within a half a second of you hearing omg a guest
Rap by tone loc!!! No, I'm not kidding. And yes, it's
Awesome to hear him again.

Listen, this isn't the second coming, but it's really solid and
Tough. Me and my daughter can sing it together in the car,
And I love that she has a few good take-no-prisoner girl-punk
Songwriter role models like Fefe Dobson and Avril Lavigne
(the new stuff is really good, honest). But why do they all
Have to be Canadian? One of those things I'll never know...
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Fefe Dobson – Review From Www.music-critic.com Lyrics