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My research revealed powerful responses to Ms Dobson. Critics love her or hate her. I saw Fefe's "Take Me Away" video on some cable channel – naturally not a "music video" network. The song was so infectious I bought the album, which blew me away the first time I played it. The inventively-titled Fefe Dobson [Island, December 2003; 13, 49'20] is almost too good. You say "Rock is dead." Well, explain this, mother! Fefe rocks and it's fresh.

The tunes are great, with equally cool lyrics and hooks. The arrangements skimp on drums (lots of cymbolism, though), emphasising guitars played by co-writer Jay Levine and James Bryan McCollum, with occasional augmentation. Fefe handles the vocals, her voice adding subtlety to the music. She's got great pipes and my impression is that she will get even better. The music is performance-friendly. For some reason, her accent reminds me of Brooklyn, but that's okay. Some of my best friends are New Yorkers. Listening to an album like this gives me faith in the future. It would also make a great present.

Web reviewer Ari Berenstein claims the disc has an "identity crisis." Maybe he's a radio programmer. The songs range from ballads to heavy rockers. Owning countless albums, as I do, I relish variety. Who wants to listen to the same volume and tempo for fifty minutes. Besides Birkenstein. Fefe seems to be as eclectic as me, gt. The last thing Fefe Dobson needs is "a more consistent sound." She is not, as some claim, trying to appeal to everyone. She certainly hasn't appealed to Bialenstein and his fellow anal retentives. I mean, this reviewer complains that the song "Revolution" has nothing revolutionary about it. Ever hear of a metaphor, Ari?

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The album uses some gimmicks, like a Tōn Loc voice-over. Usually, I'm the first to rip a song for gratuitous Rap, but it's not actual Rap. Tōn speaks and with his voice, it's fine. Other plucky effects enhance rather than harm the music. At least the disc is not "enhanced."

The songs are great, as I believe I mentioned. She's got the witty, sizzling "Stupid Little Love Song" and the seriously damning "Unforgiven." "We Went For A Ride" has a great beat and tight lyrics. She can turn a phrase ("guilt that you're stylin") merging psychology with slang. My favourite line: "You're on the road to Harvard Law, I'm on the bus to Arkansas." Obviously, thought went into the lyrics and the music. "Bye Bye Boyfriend" is pretty, with plenty of guts, "Everything" a rock anthem. Although I could go on, you would do better to buy Fefe Dobson. For some reason, it is priced as low as $7.99 US retail. Probably the old dealer trick. After you're hooked, the price goes up. Listen to her work and if you like it, fine; and if you don't, that's fine too. Just don't be a dick about it. it's all golden

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©2004 gt slade
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