Fefe Dobson (Self Titled)
If you were to ever ask me what my favorite type/kind/genre of music I like the most is, I always give the answer, “Good Music.”
This might come across as a cop-out answer to most, but if I’m being honest, I love music. Rap, Country, Rock, Pop, Soul, R&B - doesn’t matter as long I can feel it. Being so eclectic is kinda why this album is being featured. The album is like a high-quality piece of meat that’s being seasoned with rap, R&B, rock, and pop, then slow-cooked over low heat until it’s a fall-off-the-bone tender piece of music!
So, this morning when I was mindlessly scrolling the interwebs and come across a video that starts with a man asking what the best pop album was and someone comes in and talks about this album, I knew this had to be the next album I covered - the self-titled debut album by Canada’s own Fefe Dobson!
I love this album because it’s clearly a pop album put out by a teenager for teenagers. It found this album in 2004 after a Dobson music video. Talent is talent so I catch myself singing these teeny-bop anthems with all the old man gusto that I have now as I’m approaching 40.
“Just a stupid little love song”
The first track is just that - a stupid little love song. She comes from nothing. He has everything. Simple, right?
“Your mother is a diplomat, the senator of Connecticut. Your sister’s got a 4.0. Your father has his own talk show…
…I came here by taxi. You came by limousine and all I have to offer you is this - just a stupid little love song”
See, simple. The song continues in that manner, but what hits you first and carries you through this album is her voice and the background music. Her voice has this New England-esque stretch to it and the music is the neo-emo Good Charlotte-ish vibe of the time. This is what pop-rock was doing at the time. It’s a good way to kick things off, but track 2 - this is the jam.
It starts with a simple guitar. She’s just playing a simple melody. The lyrics begin; apologetic - setting the tone.
“I’ve been lying, to keep you from this pain. Now you’re crying, and to know that I’m to blame. And I’ll miss you, but it’s over now.”
Awww, it’s a sad break-up song. The drums kick in now, in step with the guitar. She continues to apologize for this break-up.
Then the music kicks up!
“Bye Bye Boyfriend”
This song adds so much energy when the beat speeds up. As the lyrics continue, you hear that she’s leaving her boyfriend because she’s no longer putting up with his poor behavior!
You never put the effort into the things that really counted
A word here, and a kiss there
Could change the way it's turning out
You work so hard at all the things I never cared about
How hands work & fingers moving, Eyes wide Shut
And baby I'm lonely
Though you’re right in front of me
You controlled me
That was the girl I used to be
Gave up myself
Well it's over now
There’s compassion, sadness, strength, and power in Fefe’s delivery. He’s sad to see it go but she loves herself more than she could love him and that’s such a positive vibe from a young woman in a world like ours. I’ve seen this NOT happen more often than not and it’s refreshing to hear a song that is so good and has such a strong message.
For the record, the video I saw was for this song.
“Take me away! Take me far away from here - I will run with you”
If you’re listening to the album, you’re three songs in and the music should have you hyped and you’ve already hit a few different “love” points with those first two songs. Track 3, “Take Me Away” is no different. If you remember the energy of rock in the “new Millenium” you already know what you’re in for.
This song is about being in love with someone without the freedom to express that love. I’ve personally felt that a lot in high school. Dating or crushing on someone that your family and/or friends would disapprove of just wishing that you could just run away and be in a space you felt comfortable to be free to be yourself with someone that “gets you”.
“Wouldn’t it be good if they would understand us? Wouldn’t it be good if we could be together?”
That’s such a reality to anyone that isn’t status quo. It kind of speaks to the alternative “lifestyle” in general.
“Come on. Rock it ‘til you drop it.”
Rap legend Tone-Loc features on the track “Rock It ‘Til You Drop It” which is such a great song to drop in the middle of a party playlist. It’s a great way to introduce people to Fe…
What was that? Who is Tone-Loc?!?! He’s the guy that does “Wild Thing” and “Funky Cold Medina”. Yeah him! While we’re here, look up a cartoon called C-Bear and Jamal. You’re welcome.
Anyway, the song is literally a party song. Just about dancing and having a good time. Loc’s voice works in contrast with FeFe’s and it’s just a great party bop.
For the next song to highlight here, I went for “Unforgiven”. While the other songs are generally relatable to many of the teenagers her age when this came out (which would have been 17-18), “Unforgiven” was personal. This song is a message to her father.
“Where were you when I fell down and skinned my knee
Where were you when I was scared to go to sleep
Where were you to soothe my insecurities
Why can't I be angry
Where were you the first time someone broke my heart
Where were you when I first learned to drive a car
Where were you when I plugged in my first guitar
It's too late for I'm sorry”
This song and another song I’m not highlighting “Everything” were featured in the 2004 movie “The Perfect Score” about teens cheating on a standardized test. I had a novel idea in high school about a girl who is murderously angry with her father and this song was motivation and, in my mind, on the soundtrack for the movie version.
I still haven’t written this story, but I have been revisiting it.
The last song I wanted to point out is “We Went For A Ride”. A little guitar. A simple drum beat. Musical parts come in and out of the song, something I just love in any song. Lyrics about those times when you just got in the car with someone you loved or cared for and just drove. No destination. No timetable. You just went. This song also has a “Save Tonight” by Eagle Eye Cherry vibe as both songs talk about ignoring what’s pending tomorrow and instead focusing on the time we have right now together. A beautiful reminder to just sit down sometimes and enjoy the life we have while we pursue the life we want.
This really is the best pop album ever. It’s simple, the music is clean, her voice is lovely, the messages are positive, and the good energy is good - what more do you want from a pop album?! My kids could sing these songs in front of their grandmother without shame. If you’ve never listened to it, do it now. Thank me later.