Hoku – “Another Dumb Blonde”

Released: 1.18.00

Peak: #27

Not every faithless teen jerk deserves the electro-clamor and vixenish vitriol that teenpop so often marshaled in defense of wronged pretty girls. In fact, few of the cads are worth anything more than the blithe “That’s all right/ That’s OK/ I never loved you anyway” with which Don Ho’s unperturbed daughter skipped off to brighter horizons. That light touch extends to the track itself, which is so mildly rhythmic, rather than humpin’ around with that New Jack Swede piston-pump, that to even call it a “track” feels anachronistic. I have no clue who produced “Another Dumb Blonde,” and that alone marks it as the product of a different era, when not all teenpop was R&B and a girl could seek moral support from a sympathetic chorus of backing droids whose vocals transform into lasers at just the right moment.

Hoku herself navigates her frothy epiphanies (“You’re not really interested in my heart or mind”–the bum!) in a voice that’s sunny-pleasant rather than, shall we say, entirely accurate — a bit “pitchy,” to borrow an unfortunate ’00s term. But that tincture of human frailty is preferable to the soul-bot vowels — that unfortunate transformation of “me” to “may” — that Britney taught lesser imitators such as Mandy ‘n’ Jessica to use on “Candy” and (teenpop’s nadir) “I Think I’m In Love With You.” (Their ballads were even worse, and I’ll be happy never to confirm that Hoku’s were also.)

And of course, the real hook here is the title’s wink at that assembly-line competition, a meta-commentary on a pop moment that was torn between bouts of blonde-mania and blonde-phobia, a condition that could perhaps only afflict a nation of mutts like ours quite so ferociously. Eminem brought peroxide to rap a year before, a year hence Legally Blonde (which, incidentally, featured a Hoku song) argued that fashionistae had brains, and above us all loomed Britney like some kind of colossal ur-Barbie rising from the depths of our mass subconscious.

Then 9/11 changed everything, or maybe it was just Pink. In whatever case, brunette authenticity became the rage, and certified Non-Blonde Linda Perry became the Diane Warren of her generation. But that’s getting ahead of ourselves. As for Hoku, she “ultimately chose to part ways with her label due to conflicting views of the future of her marketing and imaging,” her Myspace bio announces, and you’ve got to love the ambiguity of that phrasing. Idealist that I am, I’d like to think that means she resisted corporate slutification, but maybe she just thought she was getting skimped on licensing deals.

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  • zellar  On January 6, 2010 at 6:36 pm

    I sense you’re really starting to hit your stride, but still question your stamina (never, of course, your chops) for such a masochistic undertaking.

  • usefulnoise  On January 6, 2010 at 8:14 pm

    I’m hoping I’ll be all right as long as I don’t find a job or something awful like that. We shall see…

  • zellar  On January 7, 2010 at 2:01 am

    Just keep pounding those shots of 5-Hour Energy.

  • Pete Scholtes  On January 7, 2010 at 9:50 am

    This is starting to take on the urgency of a novel.

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