Some Songs Traffic in the Ontology/Cosmology Recapitulation
"Stupid Little Love Song," Fefe Dobson (Island), 2003 on the album, maybe it'll be released as a single in 2004 if we're pure of heart and we say our prayers at night
It's not just that this song features the greatest couplet in the history of teengirl pop in "You're on your way to Harvard Law / I'm on the bus to Arkansas."
It's not just that this song recapitulates the entire history of silly pop music because it sounds like No Doubt (metal and ska) sloppily making out with Avril LaVigne (punk and pop) while watching Saturday morning cartoons (Archies pop & Lieber and Stoller in the jokes here, dude's brother found the cure for morning breath omg wtf?) and cranking someone's parents' 8-tracks (doo-wop and 5th Dimension harmonies on the bridge, which is just Bangles after all) and writing self-pitying nobody-loves-me-I'm-an-outsider entries on LiveJournal (he's a jock, she's a nobody, very John Hughes and Janis Ian) and an agonized phone call to friends right afterwards (that's Sweet in her mid-bridge howl, Sweet and Lizzy and T.Rex).
It's not just that no one knows what to do with her because she's black but she doesn't sing r&b. She could, but she doesn't, that STILL freaks people out, Music-critic's editor thought she'd be like Beyonce/Aaliyah and when he heard the opening scratchy SoCal-punk skritching guitar thing to open it he did a spit take in my kitchen...and he hadn't been drinking anything.
It's not that I think she at least had a hand in writing the song, I know that doesn't really matter to anyone but me. But she might have, she shares writing credits on all songs with "Jay Levine from Lefthook Productions," no idea what kind of Matrix skullduggery this is or who the hell he is, doesn't matter if I think maybe the whole "your mother's a diplomat / Senator from Connecticut" is a little too perfect for a Canadian teenager to have written. In my mind, she wrote the whole thing, hooks and all, cleverness and all. They're making teenaged girls cooler these days anyway.
It's not that the whole conceit of the song is something I adore in music: You have everything, I have nothing...but my song. Leon Russell, Macy Gray, Paul McCartney, it's all gravity, baby, I love this notion, I felt like this many times. I was not blessed with hot looks like Fefe Dobson but I've pulled some babes in my time because I wrote cool stuff, sure this could happen to her, yeah right but still I love it as a trope, it gives me hope, it makes me smile. But that's not it.
It's not really anything I can put my finger on. All I know is that it's 80 degrees outside in Wisconsin in April and this sounds like the best song in the world. All other songs are here in this song, they all speak to me, birds are chirping, my wife and kids like me, I have no idea what the future holds, I don't care as long as there are Fefe Dobsons in the world with their stupid little love songs, their loving sneers, their casually foxy hair and rawk attitudes concealing a big fat beating heart, their love for all humanity.