Single Review: TLC “Dear Lie”

Dear Lie
Year: 1999
Album: Fanmail

In late 1999, the cracks in TLC’s “we’re just like sisters” image was now public. Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes expressed disappointment in the group and told Vibe magazine that October “I cannot stand 100% behind this TLC project and the music that is supposed to represent me.” She would later challenge them to record their own albums, release them together, and then the public can determine which is better. Chili then downplayed the infighting in the group by telling MTV that it was normal and “sisterly.”

The final single from Dallas Austin and T-Boz Watkins penned “Dear Lie” begins “dear lie/you suck.” And suck it does. Stale lyrics and shabby music doom the single. Sung from the point of a view of someone who wants to stop lying, she tells “Lie,” which is a human character, to “get outta my mouth/get outta my hair/get outta mind/stop puttin’ words in my head.” A good songwriter (like Fiona Apple, for instance) could make it work. Watkins and Austin only focus on the superficial and do not add depth to the song. Instead of the intended intention (intelligent writing, deep ideas), Watkins comes off as an amateurish writer who thinks she has reinvented personification. It’s not a song, it’s a first draft of many which should’ve followed.

Sugary pop does not fit TLC. After singing previous songs on the album like the unredeemable “I’m Good At Being Bad” and electro “Silly Ho,” “Dear Lie” is a regression. It’s a song that needed to go to someone like Aaron Carter or one of those teen groups that sing in the middle of California Adventure in Disneyland.

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