Single Review: Craig David “Hidden Agenda”

Hidden Agenda
Album: Slicker Than Your Average
Year: 2003

Craig David has a heart-to-heart conversation with his friend about her boyfriend’s ulterior motives in the hurried “Hidden Agenda.”

As a lively acoustic guitar and record scratches, David adlibs “come on baby, doo doo doo doo doo/Oh yeah, come on.”)

In the first verse, he explains to her that her boyfriend has been unfaithful. However, he’s been telling her he’s going to marry her. He puts on a nice guy front in front of his friend. But he’s actually a philanderer. David knows the boyfriend from a long time ago and didn’t like him then. He would call her ugly and ignore her. David warns her to be careful of him and suspicious of his actions. After he’s taken her money, he’ll be gone. (“Now baby he keeps on saying that/
He tells you you’re the only one/But everybody knows he’s out there having fun/Behind your back and that’s a fact and it ain’t right/‘Cos he’s a fly guy acting like a gentleman/But back in the day I can still remember when/He’d just turn around, wouldn’t look twice at you/And I’m just being straight with you/‘Cos he takes you for a fool/So you should be on your guard/
When he thinks you don’t have a clue/And I think if the truth be known/That you’ll end up all alone when/He gets everything he wants/So girl open up your eyes and see with me.”)

In the chorus, he says he’s only looking out for her best interests. He tells her to keep their conversation in mind the next time she sees him. (“What you see is what you get/Ain’t no hidden agenda/So girlfriend when he’s playing around you’d do well to remember/What you see is what you get/Ain’t no hidden agenda/So girlfriend when he’s playing around you’d do well to remember.”)

David points out that her boyfriend is using her. Her boyfriend butters her up to drive her expensive car. He then uses her money to buy gas and take his other girlfriend out in it. David believes her boyfriend is a gold digger. She speaks to buisness executives and is associated with the high-profile people in town. Her boyfriend is willing to name-drop and get out of jams if it means he can use her connections. David knows if his friend were to be laid off or run into financial difficulty, her boyfriend would have nothing to do with her. He tells her it hurts him to watch her get fooled by some guy who doesn’t deserve her. He says he’s telling the truth and not to blow it off. (“Now lady when he tells you/That he loves you and won’t give you up/
Take your car and it’s your money that be filling it up/Look at what he’s got, think he’s hit the jackpot and it ain’t right/‘Cos your connections keep him sweet and that’s so typical/He’s only in it for himself and that’s so cynical/He’d be out of sight girl if you lost it all/So I feel so bad inside when he’s cruising in your ride/‘Cos I know baby late at night/There’s some other girl by his side/And I wanna let you know that he really ought to go/And you should belive in me
‘Cos I care baby can’t you see with me.”)

By the bridge, David finally takes a breather and stops singing a mile a minute. He says he’ll be there for her. He wants to be someone she can trust and talk to. He’s not looking for a romantic relationship which is why she needs to listen to him. (“Now baby girl when he does you wrong/
I’ll make sure you’re alright, yeah/I just wanna be your friend/‘Cos there’s no reason to pretend/And that’s the difference with me oh girl.”)

The chorus is sung four times to end the single.

The nervous “Hidden Agenda” has David rushing to get the words out. It suggests she is not listening and the conversation isn’t working. Unfortunately, David doesn’t mention she how she’s handling the information.

Now for the positive aspects of the single: reversing the roles of the gold digger. R&B singles are mostly about women who are willing to take the money from the guy and run. Meanwhile, the guy is innocent. However, David portrays the woman as successful and respected and the boyfriend as a loser. It’s an original way of discussing an worn topic.

The other positive aspect: the relationship is platonic. David doesn’t want to get into female friend’s pants, he wants to see her in healthy relationship. By not even suggesting the friendship could go further, David sticks to his word.

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