Nothing frou frou about Fefe

Blair Adornato

I must admit, I was ready for the kingdom of pop idols to fall. There was the era of illustrious blondes and catchy tunes, headed by Britney Spears and rounded off every month with the newest ‘it’ protégé, dishing out catchy love tunes. After Justin Timberlake’s solo trek to stardom, we saw a shift as bubblegum love turned to lust, romance and rage. Avril Lavigne strutted across the stage, complete with black eyeliner, wife beater and tie. Pink spat out songs of abuse and heartache and Michelle Branch presented us a real musician who could fend for herself. After this tiresome entourage, if you thought the kingdom was about to come to an end, think again. Because out of the masses comes Fefe Dobson, a sassy, African-American, eighteen year old Canadian rocker chick, following in the wake of Lavigne and combining the flavors of Pink and Branch.

Although she may be just as edgy, don’t insult her by calling her an Avril wannabe. She is vibrant, enthusiastic, catchy and eclectic, and it’s all her own. As her influences range from such different genres as Michael Jackson to Nirvana, Dobson expects the same eclectic response from her audiences. She wants her fans to mosh, to dance, to sing and to simply rock out to her music. Starting as an early teenager, Dobson composed her music at the keyboard. She then realized that something essential was missing in her compositions, and scratched everything, starting over with a guitar and a new producer, Jay Levine. As she begins her tour on the stateside of North America, she looks to incorporate her roots in piano to her newer guitar experience.

Drawing on many experiences in her own life, Dobson incorporates heartache and emotion into her music, as seen through her hits “Bye Bye Boyfriend” and “Take Me Away.” Although Dobson has allowed such artists as Jeff Buckley and Coldplay to influence her own productions, Dobson’s music is one of a nearly opposite effect. Despite her guitar and heavier sound, she is a pop star in most every respect. Although she is the first African-American artist to come out onto the pop scene, she embodies the same spirit as those who came before her, regardless of race. But at the same time, her emergence shows that it is no longer a world of white pop stars and similarly white audiences. Her edgy sound and hard emotional content are a reflection of her personal experiences.

Her most famous hit, “Take Me Away” is a catchy piece, complete with guitar riffs in the background, her passionate voice overriding the ensemble of eclectic sounds. Similarly, “Bye Bye Boyfriend” is a sleek transitional song which builds from an initial soft and innocent tone to an angrier and bitter one as she becomes more adamant in her refusal to submit to painful emotion. From her hit tracks, it is evident that one must be a fan of teenage angst to enjoy the cut-throat confessions of Dobson. I only hope that Fefe Dobson can handle the transient nature of the music industry as pop may be on its last leg after five years of high demand and a powerful presence in the media.