The Rich Girls Are Weeping

10 May 2007

This is what happens when you innocently go looking for new tracks and get totally and completely sidetracked. So, everyone's favorite Fergie recorded a cover of Heart's "Barracuda" for the Shrek the Third soundtrack. Now, I admit, I wasn't the biggest Fergie fan, there was something about her tuneless Rex Harrison act for the Black Eyed Peas that betrayed the memory of the big-voiced brassy blonde named Stacey Ferguson I remembered from late 90's pop travesty act Wild Orchid. Pinkie kept trying to convince me than the new Candie's shoes spokesmodel was out-Gwenning Gwen Stefani, but I remained staunchly loyal to the former Queen of Orange County.

That is, until we had a little Fergie binge just now. Believe me, you need to hear this.

Fergie -- Barracuda.

She can uh, really sing. Anyone know who's in her backing band here? They've labored very, very hard to sound like Howard Leese. Naturally, you need the original, for comparison:

Heart -- Barracuda.

And, while we're on the Fergie kick, you probably need to be reminded of her turn in the aforementioned Wild Orchid. Boy, this really hasn't aged well, has it? Or, uh, was it ever good? Hmmm.

Pinkie was stunned that Fergie could actually sing. I reminded her of Ms. Ferguson's turn on Kids Incorporated... here, ca. 1984, doing "Let's Hear it For the Boy" with, uh, Martika and future Wild Orchid-mate Renee Sandstrom. (It's highly amusing when taken in juxtaposition with "Fergalicious," btw)

Oh, what the heck, you need a Martika infusion too, right?

Martika -- Martika's Kitchen

Wow, what is it with the Kids Incorporated alums?! Did they all turn out completely bonkers and destined to record pop songs where they namecheck themselves? (If you uh, make it through the video above, you'll see what I mean... MARTIKALICIOUS!) Alternatively, it's gotta burn to have a project like this one when your former colleagues are making jillions...

, you need this as the final word in everything...

Fergie -- Fergalicious (Tyler Nelson Beat Mix)

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

that cover is truly offensive.

draw and quarter the party who authorized that abortion.

fucking, fucking offensive.

Thursday, May 10, 2007 1:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Uh, why exactly? Please enumerate the reasons why a brassy blonde from the Inland Empire with pipes that almost, but not quite, trump Ann Wilson's shouldn't be allowed to exercise outside of the milieu of her regular body of work? I get the idea that this is who Stacy Ferguson is when she sings into a hairbrush in front of the mirror after she takes off the Candies, the fake hair, and the MAC counter. It's an awesome cover, and I think that's what's "offensive" about it. When you hear something this good, the classic rock ivory tower starts to crumble because the success of the cover comes down to exactly the same things that the success of the original did: good songwriting, amazing vocals, and the ability to bring it, whatever "it" is. Somehow the alleged sacredness of classic rock sacred cows isn't so sacred anymore.

No authorization is needed. As long as the original artist is credited and the Mses. Wilson get their mechanical royalties, all bases are covered. And having Fergie belt out that action so faithfully updates it for the kids, and probably saves Disney a bundle in licensing fees too.

It's not like the Forever 21 set are going to be busting into everyone's secret tie-dyed classic rock hideway (or their ironic "borrowed nostalgia of the unremembered [70s],") is it? Wouldn't Zeppelin fans have been equally offended by Heart's covers of their material? You know, how those dumb broads from Seattle butchered "Stairway" on that live album? Yeah, Ms. Ferguson is a tarted up chola from Hacienda Heights, but what artist's delivery isn't performance? Underneath the makeup Fergie has a lot more in common with Ann and Nancy than you or I do.

Thursday, May 10, 2007 1:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

done bloviating? good.

simply put, some things don't require updating, yes, including that shitpile Heart called a Zeppelin cover back when. in point of fact, if they did authorize this then let's go ahead and revoke their "sacred cow" status. suits me fine. they'd done plenty on their own in the mid-80's to destroy what they'd built in the70's anyway.

next time champion a better cause than the artifical tart you went to unnecessary lengths to describe in the first paragraph.

i accept your apology.

stop crying/weeping...whatever.

Thursday, May 10, 2007 2:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So what you're really saying is that you're more worthy of being a Heart fan than Ms. Ferguson is. Or more worthy than I am. Neat.

No one's weeping. Or apologizing. But someone's really defensive about their classic rock cred, since you seem to feel that an apology is deserved. I really don't find your arguments particularly compelling because all you've done is insult the credibility of an artist simply because you don't care for her appearance or presentation. Have fun at the "My Fandom is More Important than Yours" party, dude.

As always, if you don't like it, don't read it.

Thursday, May 10, 2007 3:36:00 PM  
Blogger cindy hotpoint said...

Hey Jude -- get a clue, we never apologize.

Wow, your rhetoric is seriously apalling -- I mean, really, abortion? cows? tart? -- why don't you really tell us how you feel about women in the music industry? OKTHXBYE!

Thursday, May 10, 2007 3:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cindy, for the record, I was the one that first brought the bovine. ;) I also said "tart." And I didn't really intend it to be bait, but I guess it was just dangling there...

Who knew I'd be making arguments on behalf of the artistic integrity of the woman who brought "Check It Out!" to the forefront of of my vocabulary. Clearly I find far too much pleasure in chain-yanking.

John Darnielle's statements about never devaluing someone else's experience with music goes pretty far toward making a case for artistic value in any work that fits within most parameters of accessibility and aesthetic quality. Next week it's the Diamanda Galas vs. Belinda Carlilse showdown. Who is more relevant?!

Thursday, May 10, 2007 3:47:00 PM  
Blogger cindy hotpoint said...

Oh, ooops! Sorry abt. that -- but what can you do when someone barges in here and calls a song an "abortion." Tacky, tacky, tacky.

I suppose we should just ignore hateraters, really -- but it's so much more fun to screw with them.

Also: Belinda, clearly. Though, Diamanda does have her strong points.

Thursday, May 10, 2007 4:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't hate the haterater, hate the hate. Uh...or something.

See, and I'd argue that right now, neither Carlisle nor Galas are particularly relevant. Even though Galas maintains her status as interesting and inspiring, I don't think her body of work has really affected a large number of artists or listeners outside a fairly narrow sector of fans of modern classical/choral, modern composition, etc. And then there are people who just like it because it's "weird." Belinda Carlisle on the other hand? Yeah, there was the all French release that I still need to hear. What came before that? The Go-Gos retread that toured lower-tier outdoor arenas. I should probably look into this.

Thursday, May 10, 2007 4:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Uhhh, why bother with this copycat remake since it sounds so similar to the real thing? The most interesting remakes are the ones that re-interpret the original.

Friday, May 11, 2007 2:50:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm with Tom. This cover really does show off Fergie's pipes (and I am duly amazed), but my favorite covers are ones that reinterpret the original slightly. This Fergie cover sounds basically the same as Heart's version . . . which I guess is another compliment to her singing.

Friday, May 11, 2007 4:55:00 PM  
Blogger Rinjo Njori said...

They sound the same and that is both good and band. If I had a 70's style rock band that needed a strong front woman I would consider Fergie. She should be proud fo this..

Friday, May 11, 2007 9:09:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

As a Grade A Fergie-hater, I have this to say:

1. No one has disputed Fergie's singing ability. The woman has made a career out of purposely crappy rapping, but I don't think anyone suggested that she was a terrible singer.

2. She sings well on this cover. There's a reason Heart is done so often on American Idol: it's a great way to show off your pipes.

3. At the same time, I don't think this cover is particularly that good. Like Fergie's other hits, it hits all the right moves, it has the right effects, and yet it seems ... utterly clueless. I love pop, but Fergie always seems more like a great mime of what is hott than a good innovator. Pinkie says her vocals are better than Ann Wilson's - yeah, they are technically better, and they follow her intonations almost exactly (a pretty amazing accomplishment) - but they don't feel as rich. I don't want to make a rockist judgement, but I think in this respect (since both are attempting to create rock) it's justified: the original feels more ragged and authentic. Like Gus Van Sant's shot-for-shot remake of Psycho, Fergie's version has all the right moves, but it still lacks a core.

4. The woman's personality is still deeply obnoxious.

5. Why we even need to fret about her musical importance is beyond me. Whatever charms she has pale next to, say, the similarly backward-looking Amy Winehouse or Lily Allen. Heck, she's not even as good as Hilary Duff.

Sunday, May 13, 2007 7:56:00 PM  
Blogger cindy hotpoint said...

Matthew, I actually liked Gus Van Sant's remake of Psycho -- I guess that explains why I like this cover.

And yeah, Fergie's totally obnoxious, but strangely enough, she's more in touch with the little people here on the ground than Gwen Stefani is these days. And, it's interesting that you bring up Winehouse and Allen here -- they both have a kind of adorable sincerity in their performance personae that is the total polar opposite of what Stacey Ferguson, jaded industry veteran, is doing with her performance persona as Fergie. And a blown-out, glittering cover of "Barracuda" falls perfectly in line with that persona. There's so much more going on here than whether a note-for-note cover is a good thing or a bad thing, or even if Ferguson's latest persona is a good thing or a bad thing -- it's that she's got the marketing schtick down better than anyone besides, well, Beyonce maybe (who I would argue is a whole lot more crazy and annoying at this point -- we're all suffering from her frighteningly excessive materialism, it seems), who we all know wants to grow up and be Diana Ross. There are worse things than idolizing Ann Wilson, clearly.

And yes, the reason I find Fergie interesting, and the reason I resisted her charms for so long is that she's like the most expensive color copier of all time -- but if you look at the liminal point between imitation and innovation in her persona, there's some very interesting things going on there. It's all done with a HUGE wink that's missing from Stefani or Beyonce's startlingly sincere performances.

But I thank you for coming here with a more clear argument than insult-slinging rockists.

Oh, for the record, a cover needen't always bring "something new" to the table for it to be valid.

And -- Hilary Duff scares the crap out of me. And her songs are rotten to the core and dull as dirt. And yet I know all of them. SCARY.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007 11:30:00 AM  
Blogger d said...

Is it just me or does that Wild Orchid song sounds a wee bit like Turn The Beat Around?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007 7:58:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

Thanks, Cindy, for noting that I'm not a troll. I know - it's confusing cause I totally look like one. ;)

Speaking of trolls, I think you should stop feeding some of them. Incoherent spasms of rage in blog comment form aren't really worth commenting on.

And speaking of Stacy, I hear you, but I still respectfully stick to my opinion that she's a poo-poo head.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007 10:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

holy crap!!! i had no idea there were people out there who would hate on a girl like fergie doing barracuda! i'm not into the black eyed peas but i like classic rock, i heard the fergie version the other day and i thought it was a remastered version of hearts song at first. when i found out what it was i was stoked! i play guitar and i like emotional music and solos and stuff, this song rocks and i really feel it for what it is, a speed up your pulse rock song, all these guys talking Sh*t, try it yourself! you need to have alot of character to get up there and do your stuff. i give anyone credit for trying, so try to FEEL the music and not JUDGE it. i'm not even into blondes but fergies hot to trot, you sound like you have chick issues when you start putting her down! ever sit down with her for a coffee? =)

Wednesday, June 20, 2007 9:58:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I never liked Fergie either and she cannot sing anymore. She was great until she was like 12. Now she just breaths through her nose semi to tune.

By the way everyone in her high school hared her. She was a real b* atch

Tuesday, December 30, 2008 12:03:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey people her name is Stacy NOT Stacey.


Tuesday, December 30, 2008 12:05:00 AM  

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