Thursday, August 20th, 2009

Fefe Dobson – I Want You

And this one’s got a gee-tar…


Matt Cibula: The other day I watched a 10-year-old make a sundae consisting of chocolate and vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce, M&Ms, jimmies, and whipped cream. If you took that and added habañero sauce, rattlesnake venom, Matchbox cars, Slurpees, original issues of “The Uncanny X-Men” from the late 1970s, laser pistols, rollercoasters, nuclear weapons, and the 6th game of the 1976-1977 NBA championship, it would be this single.

Dan MacRae: “Clap-clap-clap, clap-clap your hands.” Whatever you say, Fefe. In fact, I like this so much that my body’ll involuntarily throw in doing the “mashed potato” and some sort of rump shaking to express my appreciation.

Kat Stevens: Clap, clap, clap! Clap-clap your hands! Otherwise a member of Kenickie may well drop down dead and there won’t be enough fairy dust to bring them back to life.

Al Shipley: If you’re 24 years old, you probably shouldn’t still be standing in front of a row of lockers in your videos. And you definitely should be able to come up with more than half a song for a single (and that’s not a knock on the brevity, merely the lack of a tune).

Anthony Easton: It feels more mid-20s growing up adult dance party then a teenage girl anthem, esp. with the hand clap chorus, but it has effervescence and joy — no drama, just fun that sounds like a natural part of growing up. Surprised how much I liked this.

Frank Kogan: Fefe deserves immortality for “Unforgiven,” once of the great dad-hate songs in pop history, up there with Jena Kraus’s “Both Dads R Dead Dogs,” Everclear’s “Father Of Mine,” and Megan McCauley’s “I’ll Pay You To Shoot Him.” So what’s “I Want You”? An entry into the sweepstakes of quirky? Tegan & Sara at the campfire? Yeah, kinda, but it kicks, ’cause it’s from a gal practiced in kicking.

Martin Kavka: This is by far the better of the two pre-release singles from her forthcoming album, and not simply because the other one (“Watch Me Move”) contains the line “I’m gonna tease ya ’til ya beg for euthanasia.” “I Want You” is a short, punky affair — or at least what today’s teenagers, in their ignorance, would call “punky” — of unrequited lust, with a vocal that is snide without being inaccessible, guitars that are crunchy without drowning out the vocal, and clapping elements that are surprisingly more endearing than Shirley Ellis’s “The Clapping Song.” Maybe she’ll have a hit?

Edward Okulicz: Wow — exactly the sort of thing Avril Lavigne should have followed “Girlfriend” up with, though it’s far more new-wave than punk in spirit (yes, I am calling “Girlfriend” punk). Dobson’s always wanted to be Cyndi Lauper, anyway, at least since “Don’t Go” and even the no-frills raw (but probably expensive) production of this miraculously simple song can’t hide it. Which is a good thing.

Michaelangelo Matos: A big dumb Avril rip (the intonation of “yew” and “fi-eene” give her Canadian-ness away) that’s practically skiffle compared to the overcompression of Lavigne’s last round. More likable, too, which isn’t especially hard. Instructive Wikipedia excerpt: “When in the recording studio, she hung up inspirational pictures of Kurt Cobain, Judy Garland, Coldplay, Jeff Buckley and the Vines, to help motivate her sound and to commemorate the artists who influenced her.”

Erika Villani: The totally hook-y verses give way to a totally unhook-y chorus and bridge, leaving me with plenty of time to think about how I really need to broaden my listening horizons and start paying attention to more than just Disneypop, if only so I can figure out exactly which Pitchfork-approved band this reminds me of.

Anthony Miccio: An underwritten, half-hearted stab at a White Stripes playground pine. Dobson sounds like she knows this won’t go anywhere, and she’s right.

Chris Boeckmann: Derivative? No shit! This is still a brilliant burst of hook and energy, and it’s contagious enough not only to soundtrack many advertisements but many life situations as well. Welcome back, Febe! Missed you.

Alex Ostroff: On 2006’s unreleased Sunday Love, she combined 80s synths, heavy metal guitars and her riot grrl snarl to make a heady and volatile mix of DiscoGrungePop. But while Fefe’s always worn her influences on her sleeve, she’s never been as mannered or blase as she is here. I’d expect the lo-fi recording and calculated retro shtick from the latest Pitchfork darlings, here it simply holds back I Want You from being another Stupid Little Love Song.

Martin Skidmore: One of the great song titles (see especially Dylan, Gaye and Costello), but this is not set to join those exalted ranks. It’s bright enough in a slightly gawky pop-rock kind of way, but her voice sounds a bit underpowered, and the music is a little clumsy and basic. It’s lively enough, but never really explodes or moves me.

Chuck Eddy: Since Sunday Love in 2006 never came out, her last actual album was six years ago, right? So long ago, Tone Loc was on it! So, hmmm…if this single hits, will that make Fefe a two-hit wonder in the great Janis Ian/Dobie Gray/Golden Earring tradition? Unfortunately, no! Because (1) You need at least eight years between hits to join that club; plus (2) Both your hits have to go at least Top 15 in Billboard, and Fefe hasn’t got higher than #87 before. (With “Take Me Away.” But “Bye Bye Boyfriend” did go #6 in Canada in 2004! So if she waits three more years for her next hit, maybe she’ll do it there!)

7 Responses to “Fefe Dobson – I Want You”

  1. kinda with Miccio and Ship on this one.

  2. I underrated this single.

  3. ship with the cold zing

  4. there is something irresistibly ‘mobile phone advert’ about this song

  5. apparently this song is a lot better if you’ve heard other fefe dobson songs

  6. dunno – for me, as a person who likes other fefe dobson songs, it is a huge disappointment

  7. Yeah this seems no more or less mannered/irritating/catchy to me than the coin laundry thing that just got eviscerated.