Dec 06

Fergie vs Gwen In The World Series Of Silly

FT6 comments • 1,664 views

gwenstefani_winditup_f.jpgI never really liked Gwen Stefani. I though No Doubt were a bunch of ska chancers who lucked out on a hideous power ballad and stuck around through force of a singer who dressed up like Madonna. I was, of course, right on all counts with No Doubt. But I shouldn’t have let it colour my appreciate for Gwen’s solo stuff. But despite loving “What You Waiting For?” and “Hollerback Girl” I tended to think that these were aberrations in the mix rather than anything to do with Gwen herself. Clearly with “Wind It Up” this is not the case. There isn’t much else on the track except Gwen, a beat, a Sound Of Music sample and someone playing the coconuts.

That’s right. Coconuts.

Now I get Gwen Stefani. She is being silly. A “Lonely Goatherd” sample in a pop song is a bit silly. Smothering the track in fake goat hoofs is silly. Pronouncing “Wind It Up” as “winnerur” is super silly. And you can imagine how daft the video is (or you could watch it). I say more sampling of musicals in pop (though I didn’t really like “Rich Girl” at the time, as I am not a big “Fiddler On The Roof” fan but I also recognise its pop genius now).

Which is just as well as Gwen is not her own in the world of silly this year. Hooray for Fergilicious Fergie Ferg and her lack of landmarks naming skillzors (London Bridge is easy to spot, its the one without a secret alien base under it). Fergie won the war of silly last year with her humps, and now in her solo career seems happy to make up words, geography, general narrative sense all in the service of making records you have to stick your arse out too. And in the process reinventing the kind of funk that James Brown (see ya mate) was all about. Being a bit silly. It is interesting because her and Gwen come from very different places musically, and particularly from a dancing perspective. Fergie can dance. Gwen is possibly the worst dancer in pop. Both realise that if you release a song that it is almost impossible not to dance to, you will either be camouflaged by the other lousy dancers, or just fit it.

I just hope that some British acts (not just DJ Daz, he’s been doing silly for years) gets in on the silly act. And I don;t mean Chacaron – the drunk mans “I Feel For You”. Though even that’s growing on me…(Spirit Of Goodwill!) Because one thing pop music can do, and often neglects, is making us laugh. And making you laugh with a heavy multi-tracked drum track: well you’re not a million miles away from Adam And The Ants!


  1. 1
    Andrew Farrell on 28 Dec 2006 #

    Sampling musicals in singles = responsible for the vast transatlantic disparity in Jay-Z’s fame pre-Blueprint (actually, probably pre-Crazy In Love). His first big single was Hark Knock Life, which he followed up with Anything, sampling Annie and Oliver respectively.

  2. 2
    jeff w on 30 Dec 2006 #

    Also. mustn’t forget that the JAMS sampled Lonely Goatherd nearly two decades ago! Now, there was a silly band.

  3. 3
    Frank Orr on 18 Feb 2007 #

    Fergie rocks.
    Gwen is washed up.

  4. 4
    Jane on 12 Jul 2007 #

    Fergie sucks!
    Gwen rocks!

  5. 5
    bubameaow on 1 Jan 2008 #

    Gwen rules!! She is the best way bettert than Fergie! I bet that Gwen can beat fergie in a fist fight!

  6. 6
    francisco on 25 Mar 2008 #

    These demaciado mistaken for q gwen is quite a prima donna and all your commentaries are a garbage and that alone for q these selosa you write it and this dolidisimo gwen is a queen and fergie imitates her demaciado and first it(he,she) investigates gwen’s songs for q they are chisisimas

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