When You Look At Me
Album: Christina Milian
Christina Milian thinks stereotypes shouldn’t determine someone’s worth in “When You Look At Me.”
She spots someone giving her dirty looks and watching her. Since she’s a teenager, she thinks they are assuming she’s flighty (“Tell me who do you think you see/You’re standing in your corner looking out on me/You think I’m so predictable”). She asks the person to describe the person they think she is. (“tell me who do you think I am/Looks can be deceiving/Better guess again/Tell me what you see/When you look at me”).
She’s found people think of her as materialistic and rich. (“You’re probably thinking that I want those things/Cash, cars – diamond rings/Thinkin’ on my side the grass is green”). However, the same people who stereotype her as such have never spoken a word to her. (“But you don’t know where I have been”). She could appear to be manipulative to one person or sweet to another (“I could be a wolf in disguise/
I could be an angel in your eyes”). She uses the platitude “never a judge a book by it’s cover” to make her point.
In the b-part, she repeats the same ideas she expressed in the first verse but with different adjectives. Twice. The second time, the adjectives are taken out and replaced with vague words. (“I could be a crook or your lover/I could be one or the other”) She then tells people they don’t know her and don’t assume. (“If you’d look beneath you’d discover/You just don’t know me!”). The b-part is filler and should’ve been edited out of the single. It’s redundant.
In the next verse, she tells the person who doesn’t know her that the really nice guy with a good job is actually a creepy psychopath. Then, she points the homeless person she’s afraid of wouldn’t harm her. (“You look at your neighbor thinking ‘what a guy’/Cuz he’s got a 9-5/And I bet that you don’t realize/He stalks you while you sleep at night/Yet you’re scared of the homeless guy/Think he’s gonna wanna start a fight”).
She talks in the bridge and asks the person what do they think of her now. (“Now tell me, who do you think I am? Huh?/You don’t even know me”).
Clunky and unimaginative, the single relies on the chorus to do the work and make it listenable. It plays into stereotypes itself: materialistic girls, nonthreatening homeless people, and a Lifetime movie of the week villian in the supposedly nice guy living next door.