Another Dumb Blonde

Bear with me here.

I had an iPod crisis.  I went to do my podcast yesterday, and the songs I’d transferred earlier in the day weren’t there.

Now I’m a computer whiz.  Yet running through all the logic in my brain, I couldn’t figure out what happened.  And after failing to rectify the problem earlier today, after losing eighty percent of what was on my iPod, I decided to reset it, using the just released iPod updater, the one with the volume control (talk about pre-empting a lawsuit) and start over.

And while I was loading the thousands of tracks back on the little white machine, I started playing some of my all time favorite tracks in my iTunes library.  I played Argent’s "Liar", one of the very first tracks I downloaded from Napster, and Hoku’s "Another Dumb Blonde".

Wait!!  Wait just a minute!  Don’t stop reading!

Half a dozen years ago, I said Hoku’s one and only album was my favorite of the year.  And people couldn’t believe it, they were stunned.  I heard about it for YEARS thereafter.  To the point where even I wondered if I’d lost it.  But spinning "Another Dumb Blonde" today convinced me, I LOVE this record!

Let’s start with another track on the album, "Just Enough".

Just enough to keep me hanging on
Till I’m ready to move on
And then you find a way to make your play
And then I stay
Just enough to give me hope
That you will fall in love with me

Around this same time back in the early days of this century, I got hooked by a woman.  It was WHIPLASH!  It was the conspiratorial joking.  The mind meld.  I tried to play it cool, but I was a goner.  Oh, she had such horrible follow-through.  She’d e-mail me wanting to get together, I’d immediately respond, and then she’d disappear.  And just when I was starting to give up hope, to put my desire to bed, she’d look me up again.

Will you come tell me you love me or let me go
I guess we’ll have to see
You’re unpredictable
And that keeps me interested
But I’d rather have you right here instead

You don’t find the real thing that often.  It’s a revving of your insides.  You don’t feel like yourself.  Or maybe you feel like your BEST self.  And the feeling is so exciting, so different from pedestrian life, that you scramble for another morsel, another hit.  You lock on, you’re elated, and then when the interaction is over you walk on air.

Oh, I went through the bends.  I couldn’t figure out…did she like me, was she toying with me or was it not even RECIPROCAL?  It got to the point where I avoided going places for fear she’d be there.

Oh, I’m over it now.  But it lasted years.  Two to be precise.  Till I found out it wasn’t me at all.  That that’s how she operates in the world.  Making contact intermittently.  But I’d be lying if I didn’t say my heart still didn’t palpitate when I see her name in my inbox.

I’m looking for truth in my music.

These Hoku tracks are true in music.  Because they follow the classic form.  There’s verse chorus verse, occasionally a bridge.  It’s the standard formula.  It’s honest.  There are no extraneous changes thrown in for the sake of hipness.  AND, the lyrics are exactly how I felt, and sometimes still feel.  Written for pre-teens, they have a universality that anybody who’s played the game of love can relate to.  And maybe that’s why these songs were unsuccessful, the target audience had never been in love, their libido had never raged.  Or maybe it was that only Jive knew how to promote this stuff, and Hoku was lost on Geffen Records.

But as good as "Just Enough" is, and "How Do I Feel", about falling in love with a boy eating a burrito at El Torasco’s, the personalization planting the image in the listener’s brain, the piece de resistance is "Another Dumb Blonde".

It starts off with a synth that replicates an ocean swell, you get that feeling you have when you finally catch a wave, when it picks up your board and you start to FLY!

I think that it’s time that I should just let you go
So I’ll tell it to your face instead of tell it to you on the phone

You know how you get up your gumption?  After crying into your pillow for days?  How you brush yourself off and confront your demons?  OH, how I relate to this.  We’re all just human under the skin.  Despite your beauty, despite your wealth, goddamn it, I’m an EQUAL!  And I’m FINALLY gonna stand up for myself!

You see I thought that you were special, baby
Something unique but lately I’ve come to find
That you’re not really interested in my heart or mind

Oh, the double meaning.  Is the guy himself special, or was he just different from the average dude, and special to HER?  Oh, how do we get infatuated when nobody else does?  I confided to friends I was hung up on this woman and they just didn’t get it.  They’d worked with her.  They’d seen her in action.  Their dicks didn’t get hard.

That’s alright, that’s okay
You never loved me anyway
And I think it’s time for you to just move on
That’s alright
That’s okay
I bet you never thought you’d hear me say
That I think it’s time for you to find another dumb blonde
‘Cause it’s not me no, no
‘Cause it’s not me no, no, oh no

You’ve got to HEAR this to get it.  The EXUBERANCE!  Oh, she’s finally free!!  She no longer cares.  And that’s the turning point.  When you’re no longer beholden.  Freaks your beloved out.  They thought they had you hooked, but you’ve slipped off the hook, you’ve DANCED AWAY!  Oh, Hoku’s double-tracked.  A vocal in each channel.  Like a modern day girl group.  And the bass is pinning it all down, representing her newly-reconstituted, throbbing libido.

Last night I went to a party hoping that you were there
And sure enough you were hanging on some other girl playing with her hair
And I overheard you telling her the very same thing you said to me the night before
Hook, line, and sinker you were walking with her out the door

Oh, that’s how I met my first long term girlfriend.  I’d SEEN her at the library.  I just couldn’t stay in my one room apartment any longer.  I jumped up, on a mission, and got into my 2002 and went STRAIGHT to the library where I found her, and sat down RIGHT ACROSS FROM HER!  Something I’d normally never have the guts to do.  And I didn’t feign interest in my book, I went right for it, I engaged her in conversation, I got her to go down to the basement and take a break.  Four years later…

And the way Hoku delivers "the very same thing", with the INDIGNANCY we all feel.  Oh, she’s got a thin little voice, but she’s PISSED!  How could you DO THIS TO ME!  Not only abandoning me, but picking up somebody else employing the exact same technique!

You want just a little trophy hanging on your arm
So all your friends’ll see you got it goin’ on
But I see what you are so clearly
But baby, baby that’s not alright with me

This is GUYS!  There was none of this truth in the Backstreet Boys or ‘N Sync’s music.  We guys are always trying to impress each other.  God, look at the big swinging dicks on Wall Street, trading in the wives who stood by them on the way up, often providing the SEED money, for BABES!  Evidence they’ve MADE IT!

But do you really want someone who’s into you because you’re rich and/or famous?  What if you lose your status?  What is the relationship BASED ON?

That’s alright that’s ok I never loved you anyway
That’s alright that’s ok you never loved me anyway

Oh, Hoku sings this at a high pitch, almost as if she’s fighting back tears, but she’s not gonna cry, she’s not gonna lose her dignity.

And THEN, like a Phil Spector wall of sound record, like everybody in the high school is suddenly on Hoku’s side, like it’s the end of a movie musical and everybody has joined in, as the instruments pump, the multiple voices SING:

It’s alright, YEAH!

Over and over again.  GO AHEAD AND FIND WHAT YOU NEED!

Oh, she’s DONE!  She’s been released from prison.

You know how some of the best records never made it, how they were never iconized, embedded in the public mind?  "Another Dumb Blonde" is one of those tracks.  A tour de force.  Oh, it got some airplay.  But if it were rereleased on the newly-powerful Hollywood Records TODAY, cross-promoted on the Disney TV and radio stations, it would EXPLODE!

Then again, maybe it’s just not dumb enough for the audience.  Oh, "Another Dumb Blonde" is teen pop, but made for ADULTS!  Still children at the game of love.

So download this.  It’s better than anything on Madonna’s new album.  It’s pure pop for now people.  Shut the door, close all the windows, then CRANK IT UP!  All your past emotional hurt, all those dumpings, all those relationships that didn’t work out, they’ll be EXORCISED!  At least for the four minutes of this song.  And it’ll feel so good, you’ll want to play the record over and over and OVER again.

This is what we call a hit.

This is a read-only blog. E-mail comments directly to Bob.

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