Friday, December 14, 2007

Fergie Puts Me On Rock, Rock!

I don't often censor myself on this blog but I have resisted mentioning my Fergie admiration out of fear of public ridicule. However, I think the time has come to out myself. Before you start sharpening your knives - hear me out. I used to be one of you poor, misguided Dutchess haters. In fact, I believe I nominated Fergie as the worst pop star of all time for an online poll and described her solo album as "repugnant filth" the first time I heard it in late 2006.

I simply wasn't ready to embrace Fergie's musical genius but that started to change in early 2007 when Alanis Morissette spoofed "My Humps". I was shocked by the blatant disrespect Alanis showed the track. It might be utter rubbish in her eyes but "My Humps" will be remembered 20 years from now - unlike anything that horse faced bitch has released this decade. As a sucker for unusual promotion, my sympathy for Fergie only grew when she revealed having conversations with a washing basket under the influence of crystal meth. With a newly formed, positive opinion of the great woman, I was finally able to listen to her music with objectivity and was amazed by the brilliance of "Glamorous" and "Big Girls Don't Cry". The time had come to give "The Dutchess" a second chance and it has been a guilty pleasure of mine all year. Uneven and often downright embarrassing, "The Dutchess" is a pop trash classic in waiting. However, that's not why I felt compelled to write this post. The more I listen to Fergie's album, the stronger my conviction becomes that Fergie is the voice of our generation. There have been many better albums released this year but none that captures the zeitgeist as eerily as "The Dutchess". Evidence is provided below:


I be up in the gym just working on my fitness
He's my witness!
I put your boy on rock, rock
And they be lining down the block just to watch what I got

In 200 years time when historians research the social mores of the early 21st century, I hope they stumble upon a copy of "Fergalicious" in order to fully understand the current phenomenon of shameless self-promotion. Never before in recorded history have people shared so much of themselves publicly - be it on Myspace, Facebook, Youtube or Blogger. I see "Fergalicious" as the musical equivalent of a Gaydar profile. Fergie rambles on about her self-proclaimed hotness in barely comprehensible English all the while lying through her teeth. The truth of Fergie's boasts are irrelevant, what matters is the image she puts forward - just like all those "straight acting, athletic" guys on Gaydar. Deep down we know they are probably mordibly obese, limp wristed queens but we like to think there's a hunk sitting behind the computer. We all lie but Fergie has turned baseless self-promotion into an artform!


A girl like me don't stay single for long

The fifth single from "The Dutchess" is pure Fergie. A completely pointless yet insanely catchy groove built around a variety of samples. You could argue that "Clumsy" represents everything that's wrong with music today. It's not a song so much as a collection of sounds thrown together with clinical precision in a recording studio. From the spoken vocal to the static beats and crazed sampling, "Clumsy" is a product of its time - and I'm ok with that.

All That I Got (The Make Up Song)

Would you love me
If I didn't work out
Or I didn't change my natural hair

Just when you think "The Dutchess" couldn't get any more insightful, Fergie extends her lyrical genius to cover topics like hair care and make-up. "All That I Got" plays like the soundtrack to a trashy magazine with its exploration of body image and emotional insecurity. The song itself is a charming groove that is only slightly ruined by an unnecessary guest rapper. It's nice to actually hear Fergie use her powerful pipes and the production less excessive than usual. Fergie cops a lot of criticism for the perceived superficiality of her work. I disagree, Fergie's world view is limited to looking hot, finding a man and being successful but how does that differ from the rest of Generation Y?

London Bridge

I'm such a lady but I'm dancin' like a ho

The world could really do without Fergie's ode to her engorged clit - or so I thought until I was dragged to a suburban disco by a friend's 17 year old sister. As soon as "London Bridge" hit the turntable, flocks of hotpant wearing tarts descended on the dancefloor screaming "It's my song!" before making obscene hand gestures between their legs and dancing like cheap prostitutes. The point I'm trying to make is that you probably need to be a teenager to get "London Bridge" or at least an avid pole dancer. Since that spiritual experience, my love for Fergie's stunning debut single has grown in leaps and bounds. "London Bridge" is a hot mess complete with rubbish lyrics, bad sampling and more false advertising about Fergie's irresistible hotness. A work of demented genius.


I've paid my dues
I'm a seasoned dame
So why you gotta throw salt in my game?

"Pedestal" is a direct response to the constant shit Fergie cops in the media. For whatever reason, the Dutchess is the pop diva bloggers and music journalists love to hate - criticising her music, rumoured botox addiction and weak bladder. This song is one long "fuck you" to all her haters. As she states in the revealing lyrics, Fergie has put in the hard yards. First as a child star in America and then as a member of the forgotten girlband, Wild Orchid. Unlike many of her contemporaries Fergie wasn't served her career on a silver platter and I respect that. "Pedestal" is compelling listening, if only for the legendary rhyming couplet "I work around the clock, so fill your mouth up with a sock"!

Voodoo Doll

This body's a temple of doom

"The Dutchess" really is a remarkable portrait of 21st century life. With Amy Winehouse and Britney destructing before our very eyes, Fergie's revelation of having overcome a crystal meth habit seems almost quaint in comparison. "Voodoo Doll" tackles Fergie's drug habit, making it one of the most personal tracks on the record. I'm particularly impressed with the lyrics - usually not one of Fergie's strongest points. This is as thought provoking and intelligent as any song I've heard about drug addiction. The production is also first class. The horns that come in at the end are a fantastic touch.


I'm no queen, I'm no machine
I still go to Taco Bell
Drive-through raw as hell

"Glamorous" is undoubtedly one of the year's finest pop songs. I was captivated by Fergie's gorgeous mid-tempo groove from the first listen and I still love every second of it. A radical departure in style, "Glamorous" is more traditional in structure and sound than most of "The Dutchess". Even the obligatory rent-a-rapper can't diminish the brilliance of this pop gem. "Glamorous" reflects on Fergie's life in the fast lane and documents her stunning achievements and massive success. For all the jibes about Fergie's perceived superficiality, "The Dutchess" is a very personal album.

Here I Come

Money don't change me
So hate if you gotta gotta
Cause I got a lot-a, lot-a

Listen to this awe-inspiringly awful pseudo cover of The Temptations' "Get Ready" at your own risk! The lack of respect shown to the original is really quite impressive. Fergie takes a much loved Motown classic, tears it inside out and comes up with a fabulously awful anthem, complete with lyrics about her humps and a dodgy rap. This is utter crap but I can't get enough of it. A guilty pleasure in the truest sense!


Sink into me, I feel so warm

This song is clearly about Fergie's pussy. I'd rather not think about her "crumblin' walls".

Big Girls Don't Cry

Fairytales don't always have a happy ending do they?
And I foresee the dark ahead if I stay

The 4th single released from "The Dutchess" towers above everything else on the album, perhaps with the exception of "Glamorous". In my opinion "Big Girls Don't Cry" is the finest ballad of the year and the average music fan seems to agree as evidenced by the song's massive 9 week stretch at #1 in Australia. Reviews haven't been as kind, with many critics dismissing "Big Girls Don't Cry" as an empty exercise in false sentiment. A kind of "Self-Reflection For Dummies", if you will. Well, I'm not buying into that kind of cynicism. I totally identify with Fergie's mantra about growing up and finally taking responsibility and I admire the way "Big Girls Don't Cry" expertly explores the very modern phenomenon of "kidulthood" and the sense inertia that plagues Generation Y. The song also stands out as the most traditional offering on "The Dutchess". There are no samples, no guest rappers or quirky hooks. The emphasis is placed squarely on the lyrics and Fergie's hugely underrated voice. A modern classic.

Mary Jane Shoes

When I wear my Mary Jane Shoes
I can escape from the blues
The whole world seems a little bit brighter, brighter

When I think of reggae music, Bob Marley's famous protest songs come to mind. Fergie, on the other hand, uses the genre to extol the virtues of her favourite pair of shoes. That, my friends, is the difference between 1967 and 2007 in a nutshell. The amazing thing about "Mary Jane Shoes" isn't the questionable subject matter but the fact that the song works - incredibly well. This reggae jam would be really quite outstanding if it wasn't ruined by a completely unnecessary 30 second outro of guitar static. A missed opportunity for a very memorable single.

Losing My Ground

I woke up short of breath, but still I've got a long day ahead of me

"Losing My Ground" is a fairly forgettable album track that straddles the line between R'n'B and rock without committing to either genre. The lyrics explore the familiar theme of feeling lost and overwhelmed by life but it lacks the punch of Fergie's other reflective moments. Inoffensive but slightly boring.


Ever since I was a baby girl I had a dream
Cinderella theme, crazy as it seems

Fergie's collaboration with John Legend is a surprisingly sweet piano ballad. Think of this as the overwrought but strangely endearing sister of "Big Girls Don't Cry". The Dutchess puts in another fine vocal performance but the lyrics read like a badly written Hallmark card... or the random musings of a 21st century "it" girl. However, after the endless onslaught of samples and studio trickery, the pared back sound of "Finally" comes as something of a relief.

Get Your Hands Up (Bonus Track)

This song is credited to Fergie featuring The Black Eyed Peas. Surely that makes it a Black Eyed Peas track? In any case, it sure as hell sounds like one to me. If I wanted to hear rap I'd fork out the cash for his shit solo album. No thanks.

Wake Up (Bonus Track)

The second bonus track finds Fergie in rock diva mode and the result is surprisingly convincing. "Wake Up" wouldn't sound out of place on a No Doubt album. This is a definitely a genre that Fergie needs to re-visit in the future. Worth a listen.

Maybe We Can Take A Ride (Hidden Track)

I hate these hidden tracks. It's annoying to listen to 30 seconds of dead air - particularly when you're greeted with a song as inane and pointless as "Maybe We Can Take A Ride". Fergie basically repeats the song title over an annoying saxophone line. Skip this shit.

"The Dutchess" is widely uneven dog's breakfast of an album. It dabbles in too many genres and, more often than not, is hampered by dodgy lyrics and excessive production. However, "The Dutchess" is so of its time that it almost defies criticism. If I had to pick one album to throw into a time capsule to represent the musical taste and social mores of 2007 this would be it. For better or worse.


tommie said...

Oh no you didn't!

Every time I hear "Clumsy" I think of Divine taking a shit on a lawn.

Anonymous said...

You should know that Fergie loved that Alanis' parody of My Humps. She even sent to Alanis a cake for that with a message. I personally think the parody is amazing and I'm fan of Fergie.

Ro Ro said...

I am a total Fergie addict so dont feel too much shame. I have the Japan version and it had a total of 19 tracks including the clumsy rock remix. All hidden of course. i never know why they put that hidden stuff on there just list it. She reminds me alot of Janice the muppet. Fabulous! I loved your review. Have u heard her rockalicious cover of hearts "barracuda"? now thats a true gem. Love ya bitch hugzz

Jamie said...

I'm convinced that Fergie is Jimmy Savilles' dead mum - she was called the dutchess.

I too find myself bathing in disinfectant for my love of the odd Fergie track but trash can also be mainstream too e.g Christina, J-Lo etc

Mike said...

Tommie - h8tr!!!

Anon - That's nice to hear but it doesn't change my opinion of Alanis' piss take. It just makes me think that Fergie is an overwhelmingly good sport.

Roro - Gurrl, I knew you would get Fergie's craptastic genius. I'm thinking about investing in the Japanese version if I can find it for a reasonable price. I'd love to hear "Barracuda" - send it please! I don't get the point of hidden tracks at all. It's so fucking annoying!

Jamie - I feel better knowing other trash fans occasionally indulge in the dubious delights of Fergie. You're right about her being the poster child for mainstream trash. Few underground trash divas will ever match the tragic yet brilliant lows of "Fergalicious" and "London Bridge"!

stoobydoo said...

My god....this sums her up perfectly except for giving her too much credit...I spat out my nose more than once.

Claire said...

No! No! No!

Not Fergie, not with her weatherboard face!

I can't endorse this!


Mike said...

Thanks Stooby!

Come on, Alyson. She's no Collette but Fergie's a seasoned dame, so why you gotta throw salt in her game?

Gameboy said...

KISS FM here in Melb have playing the most incredible electro remix of 'Fergalicious'...making it even more relevant to the vacuous One Love disco bunny generation...... would sell Nanna to get a copy.

Anonymous said...

It seems you didn't understand the My Humps parody at all. And calling Alanis horce faced bitch and Fergie musical it's ridiculous sorry... Well that's my opinion. Bye Anon

Mark said...

I hope you are kidding with this comment: "The more I listen to Fergie's album, the stronger my conviction becomes that Fergie is the voice of our generation."

That comment is the most stupid thing I've ever read really...

Mike said...

Gameboy, that sounds amazing. There were excellent remixes of Big Girls Don't Cry but strangely they weren't put on any of the singles.

Anon - Alanis is a horse faced bitch. Fact.

Mark, I'm 100% serious! I'm not saying she's the most talent singer (I'm not even saying she's talented), just that Fergie embodies the zeitgeist more than anyone else at the moment. Anyway, each to their own.

Anonymous said...

As a fan of great musicians I'm telling you that your "fact" about Alanis is wrong! I bet you even don't know her albums and commenting about her look isn't even funny. It's your opinion though. But you know I think that your blog is cool and this kind of crap (hating comments about celebrities, musicians) is for other kind of blogs - those tabloid Perezitos ones. Have a great day, Anon

Jamie_movietrip said...

To quote Dame Brigitte Nielsen in Red Sonja: "You's a maaaaddddd"

That said, I do often sing Glamourous to myself so I too am not without shame. Fergie is foul though, the woman pissed herself live on stage, that's just too much trash for me. Clumsy is hideous too.

Miss Heide Von Binterschlappen said...

Fergie is awful. May dogs pee in her nail varnish!

Luhndhun bwyge is even more disgusting that JANFT's many odes to her rancid ladybits (someone shoudl have told the stupid cow that she was filming the video at TOWER Bridge...) and Big Girls Don't Cry is the most painfully insipid and whiny song ever in the history of music - I'd rather listen to Dulta than her inane whimpering followed by shouting "OI HOP U NO OI HOP U NO DAT DIZ IZ NUFFINK 2 DO WIT U" over the most irritating jingle jangle pap guitar ever...

And I find it hard to believe that even the most desperately horny munters would find that thing remotely attractive - bitch has had so much buttox and meth that she can't control her bowels! Well, maybe those into watersports, scat and fucking plastic would find Fergies "lovely" lady lumps arousing...

Though I love Shut Up, and Hey Mama - the latter is beyond fabulous - and I don't mind Fegalicious.

Mike said...

LOL - I knew this post would open Pandora's box!

Poor Fergie. She puts the boys on rock, rock and people still hate her!

Poster Girl said...

I know this is kind of late to weigh in, but I loved all three of her first singles. Didn't really like "Big Girls Don't Cry," though that might have had something to do with the fact that it was played EVERY OTHER SONG on radio around here for a while.

Mike said...

Poster Girl, I'm so glad another trashy pop fan feels the love - and I can totally picture you "dancin' like a ho" to London Bridge!

Robpop said...

I fully endorse this (why I will explain below). However, Mike your review was more vibrant, creative and better written than anything on Fergie's album. There is no getting away from this. Your talent as a reviewer and mastery of words shines bright and eclipses the actual product your examining.

My thoughts on Fergie.

Fergie will never be Fergie.

She will always be the classy big mouthed member of Wild Orchid. I used the word classy to define the immense love i have for poptrash. And Stacy is nothing but a poptrash diva. And I've always loved her for that!

With her big vocals, big lips and amazing blonde hair.......her period in Wild Orchid is an essential part of any girlband collection. She saved Black Eyed Peas and her time in the band was just a stepping stone! From the highs within in the girlband to her solo career.....

In Wild Orchid, Fergie made some of the greatest power ballads that never I miss the trinity of those three large vocalists. Come As You Are/Follow Me are two of the finest girlband tracks to come out of the U.S...

Mike said...

Thanks for the kind words, Rob! I'm not that familiar with Wild Orchid but I've liked everything I have heard so far. I think people forget that Fergie has been around for ages - it must be her naturally youthful appearance!

Johny D said...

Actually I feel the same way about the Fergster. I HATED her in the black eyed peas. As far as Iam concerned the highlight was the notorious "wet spot" incident. You should also watch the Peaches take on "My Humps", called "My Dumps". Somehow I don't think Fergie sent her a cake for that one!

I got into her thru "Glamourous" Trashtastic song and vid.

Unfortauntely Fergie seems tobe sharing Dannii's brave battle with Botox...

Adem With An E said...

Oh Mike I am so pleased to read this post!

My best friend Ben & I used to also foolishly have a strong hatred for Fergie. Funnily, when "My Humps" came out, I hated it so much that, eventually, I was listening to it for novelty/hilarity factor.

I then started to like it.
Then I loved it.
Then Fergie went solo, and I lapped that shit up. And went back for seconds. And said it was Fergalicious.

Have you heard her TRASHY AS FUCK cover of Heart's "Barracuda" Mike? You must hunt it down, it's hot.

Mike said...

Johny D - My Dumps is awesome! Peaches taking the piss out of Alanis taking the piss out of Fergie. I want a studio version!

Adem - I'm so glad you approve. Barracuda is amazing and LOL at the fan made video clip!

D'luv said...

Chylde, I hear you. Although "London Bridge" is abominable in a way that makes me want to knife her speakerboxx, "Glamorous" is my 4th fave pop jam this year -- just check our year end round up on Chart Rigger! -- and "Big Girls" is a keeper, too.

As for the rest of the album, I'm not listenin' to that shit... are you nuts?!

Ro Ro said...

here's Barracuda

Sorri Mike i was in hospital now i will try and sleep it off for 6 weeks jesus this pain is horrible. But on the briighter side i think i am fixed now! hugz

Mike said...

Thanks Roro! I love it!

I'm sorry to hear that you're still unwell. I hope you recover super fast. Drop me an e-mail when you're feeling better xx

Hules said...

I still think she's so vile it makes me eyes water.