Thursday, March 13, 2008

Ashley Alexandra Dupre - "What We Want"

(via AAD's MySpace Page)

Download: Ashley Alexandra Dupre - "What We Want"

Ashley Alexandra Dupre may be a name that everyone and their (insert your own lame distant relative joke here) knows but, for those of you who are unsure, here's a reminder. Dupre is the young woman who recently came to public attention as the prostitute who gave now-former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer's undercarriage a little bit of a "how's your father?".

But did you know that when she's not off making sexy time explosion with hypocritical politicians*, Dupre fancies herself as a R&B singer? You Did? Of course. So the next step then is to review the track and indulge the undoubtedly well-honed sense of schadenfreude that the Spitzer case has enabled us with, yes? But before we do that, here are some stray observations:

1. We've heard far worse. *coughhackPOPOZAOcough*
2. The beat of "What We Want" is not entirely dissimilar to most of the stomping you'd hear in pop music today. In terms of a casual listen, you've probably stumbled upon a song with similar to "What We Want" while adjusting your dial or setting your preferences on your satellite radio.
3. Given the choice between Dupre's track and a song like "Fergilicious", I'll take the (musical) amateur over the professional 9 times out of 10.
4. Judging by her bio on her MySpace Page, Dupre's used music to overcome some serious obstacles, not the least included drug abuse and a broken home. For this, she should undoubtedly be praised. In all likelihood, Dupre is off writing songs about her newfound fame right now. If those songs help her get through the day, then that isn't an entirely bad thing, no?
5. Most musicians end up prostituting themselves anyway, in some shape or form. Should we be surprised that actual prostitutes want to get in the music game, too?

With all that said, "What We Want" can, in no denotative sense of the word, be classified as "good". Like all music made by those who are first starting out, the song resembles its influences--in this case, Mary J. Blige, Mariah Carey, etc--so much so that it is inevitably derivative. You've heard songs like this before. They're the tracks that combine the braggadocio of mainstream hip-hop, usually by co-opting its louder-than-bombs beats and siren-y synths, with the vulnerable strength of the straightforward R&B (usually in the vocals and lyrics).

Speaking of the words, another problem with "What We Want" is that the song feels like it doesn't have any verses. It obviously does, but the vocals, and the lyrics sound like what you'd normally hear in the background of a Top 40 track. In light of the Spitzer scandal, the lyrics ("Can you handle me, boy?") feel gloriously ironic, but removed from that context, they're simply bland. As a dude, I was probably supposed to be all hot-and-bothered by the come-hither vocals. Instead, I was bored.

As a listener, I kept waiting for when the real verse would come in, but instead felt like we kept getting the back-up singer over and over again. You know the one. She's the singer whose streetwise but generic lyrics serve as the bumper for the rapper phoning in his rhymes or as the precursor for the more technically accomplished singer to start her tale of romantic woe.

Dupre says on her MySpace Page that "What We Want" is "really about trust...inspired by a guy, who taught me not to confuse my dreams with the sounds of the city". Dupre should keep dreaming, but should also know that, should she want to realize those dreams, she's got a lot of work ahead of her.

Also, that she should probably *stop being a prostitute*.**

Ashley Alexandra Dupre MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

*Incidentally, this and this are probably two of the smarter pieces written in light of the Spitzer scandal that I've read.
**Along with drug abuse, the one thing that Dupre and Dee Dee Ramone allegedly have in common.

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Blogger BardoStateofMind said...

Like you say, not a great piece of work, but she probably got studio time at a discount...

7:25 AM  
Anonymous taylor said...

the new track she just posted (she's apparently not stupid) is a little better -- sounds like Britney's last record, but still WAY better than expected

9:38 AM  
Blogger daniel: record-play said...

fair play to her, may as well capitalise on the worldwide publicity..

nice blog by the way!

1:16 PM  

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