Friday, June 4th, 2010

Fyfe Dangerfield – She’s Always a Woman

I think I can say, without any fear of contradiction, this is the dullest video I’ve ever screengrabbed…


Katherine St Asaph: Isn’t it nice that Fyfe recorded his piano recital for us? Wonder if his ahead-of-her-time woman (cryogenically frozen in 1977, dontcha know) even pays her taxes like B.o.B’s.

Mark Sinker: Who’s this twerp? I’m really really trying not to do the thing where you judge the quality of a song by the behaviour of the person described in it — but it’s hard keeping the singer’s “I” distinct from the singer when there’s also this “you” floating about, that the “I” is busy explaining the “her” to. OK, so “she’s always a woman to me” — so who IS the “you”, what does it need convincing of, and why? We need a diagram. And maybe Billy Joel drew one, when he sang this (and yeah, maybe not!) but Fyfe just can’t draw, and triangles are just lines to him, and lines are just sounds, and sounds are just borrowed habits.

Anthony Easton: Can everyone in Britain make a pact never to fuck this guy again?

Martin Skidmore: A Bily Joel cover by the singer out of the Guillemots, used for a John Lewis advert. Frankly I never liked the song, as it always struck me as arrogant, idiotic and misogynist, and this romantic treatment doesn’t persuade me to change that view.

Doug Robertson: Do you know any unimaginative women who are either planning on a) getting married or b) dying this year? Well if so, congratulations, as you’re going to hear this song at either event and you’re going be forced to try and keep your cringe contained as this mawkish slice of forced sentimentality plays and the vapid, soulless types who insist on taking up space in this world wipe a tear from their eye and claim that the advert that this soundtracks – an advert for a sodding department store – is so beautiful, even though the people who created it can only understand beauty when it’s presented to them in the form of a pie chart, making you want to shake them and shout that the mundanity of middle class existence is not some amazing miracle to be celebrated. No, it’s more like a bird crapping on your window; it’s just something that happens. This, though, is not something that happened, it’s something that someone chose to make happen, and that makes it a lot, lot worse than that.

Edward Okulicz: Billy Joel’s original throws clever-clever words at a nice tune (curdling it in the process), but Dangerfield tries to emphasise the latter rather than the former. It’s all a bit worthy and unexciting, but it’s not unpleasant at all.

Alfred Soto: Billy Joel’s original is a weird performance: he thinks he’s writing “Just Like a Woman” but his vocal turns it into “It Ain’t Me Babe.” In other words, the singer stands revealed as an philistine; it doesn’t cross his mind that “she changes her mind” and “promises more than the Garden of Eden” because he slurs and pouts like a self-pitying asshole. Only another woman (think Rosanne Cash) could have unfurled its erotic possibilities. While Dangerfeld’s sensitive-man treatment is closer to what Joel had in mind, it’s devoid of the unintentional ironies that lent the original its grotesque fascination. He’s better off covering “Don’t Ask Me Why,” “Leave a Tender Moment Alone,” or even “You’re Only Human (Second Wind)” — or should he leave that one to Of Montreal?

Chuck Eddy: I wondered in the Village Voice in the late ’80s when alternative music (modern rock, whatever it was called then) would finally come to terms with its Billy Joel influence. Well, there have definitely been some steps in that direction (the Hold Steady referenced his lyrics once or twice I think), but off the top of my head this might be the first alt/indie/whatever cover version I’ve heard, per se’. It’s also one of his worst and wimpiest hits, one I never liked in the first place. But at least that means this Guillemotter can’t make it much worse, and I’ve got to admit, his Brit burr gives it some gravity the original might’ve lacked. Not that I’m gonna check to make sure.

Ian Mathers: Maybe it’s because I adore Guillemots’ first album so, so much that this pointless, anodyne version of one of Billy Joel’s most smarmy, odious hits offends me profoundly. Dangerfield’s voice is still good, but he hasn’t found any worthwhile uses for it in too long.

3 Responses to “Fyfe Dangerfield – She’s Always a Woman”

  1. OH this guy used to be in GUILLEMOTS. Ha ha ha. “Who’s this Twerp” pretty much summed this up for me too, I refrained from adding to the heap of 1s and 2s.

  2. In related and equally uninteresting news, when my sister and I were little we always referred to the samename bananas as FIFFYs.

  3. What Ian said. This is really depressing to listen to.