Single Review: Lucy Woodward “Dumb Girls”

Dumb Girls
Album: While You Can
Year: 2003

Much like Michelle Branch and Avril Lavigne, Lucy Woodward is the tough-take-no-prisoners singer/songwriter. However, as she repeatedly emphasizes in her interviews, she’s soulful and her music is “different” from theirs. John Shanks (Michelle Branch, Ashlee Simpson) even produced her and gave her a new sound. New as in exaclty like Michelle Branch.

The superior, self-centered “Dumb Girls” finds Woodward wondering why she got dumped by her boyfriend. In the first verse, she is flabbergasted and in shock (“You broke my heart today/I don’t know what to say/ I can’t feel a thing at all/I did not see it coming”) She’s ticked and thinks it’s a major event in her life (“I look at the ground and give the sky the middle finger/Something inside said here’s a day you should remember/So mark it on the wall”).

Except she’s not ready to grow and learn from the experience yet which she indicates in the chorus (“I never believed it could happen to me/Something like this only happens to dumb girls/Taking themselves too seriously/I was so damn smart I thought I was the one girl/Who never believed it could happen to me”). Regaining self-esteem won’t be problem while she deals with the breakup seeing she has enough to share with an entire room of high schoolers.

In the second verse, she sings that she misses him badly and that he brings out the stupidity in her. Of course, she does this by insulting blondes. (“I miss you so much I can’t stand it/You bring out the blonde in me/’Cause I’m still hanging on/Even though you done me wrong”). Not only is she conceited but she’s mean-spirited, too. The reasons of why he broke with up with are getting a lot more clearer. The ex-boyfriend gets more sympathy lyric by lyric.

In the bridge, she finally cops to her insecurities (“I thought I was strong but I was just dreaming/Kept believing/That nothing was wrong I thought I knew what was going on…now I am just a dumb girl”). By Woodward’s estimation, any girl is dumb if she is involved and committed to her relationship. Then she would be “taking it too seriously”. She must be one of these girls who pretends she doesn’t need a guy, ignores him and only wants him to buy her stuff. But the minute he’s gone, she’s “but I loved him! Why did he leave me!”

Woodward was going for an introspective feel. However, that actually requires being able to write with subtlety and thinking beyond the superficial. Woodward ends up sounding condescending and shallow instead.

Out of the young women in the fem rock genre, she is the only one who has the voice of a woman and not a little girl. In an ironic twist, she infantilizes herself by calling herself a ‘girl’.

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