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Fyfe Dangerfield - 'She's Always A Woman'

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Fraser McAlpine | 11:30 UK time, Friday, 7 May 2010

Fyfe Dangerfield

Here's a quick (and patchy) history lesson for you all:

Once upon a time, you could guarantee to get a song into the charts because it was in a TV commercial - usually one for jeans - and people hadn't heard it in ages. Then you could guarantee to get a song into the charts because it was in a TV commercial and no-one had ever heard it before. Then there were a LOT of songs in TV commercials, so you couldn't guarantee anything would get into the charts.

Then the charts started to become dominated by download sales over CD sales, which meant releasing songs from TV commercials was a lot easier to do. Then advertisers realised that interesting covers of classic old hits really fires up the public's imagination (hello Glee!), and now some songs from TV commercials get into the charts and some do not.

This song is doing quite well. It is currently being used in a TV commercial.

(No video. You'll never guess, it's a TV commerical.)

I've always had a bit of trouble with the lyrics to this song. It's not so much the lumping together of various characteristics and behaviours - some pleasant, some less so - and chucking a big sign on top saying "THIS IS WOMANHOOD, AS I SEE IT", lovely as that is.

It's more that, having described his composite girlfriend as being aloof, ditsy and manipulative, and of having a devastating effect on any poor sucker who is unlucky enough to fall for her and her tricks, Billy Joel (who wrote it) signs off each verse with that "she's always a woman to me" line, as if to say "well, I knew the risks - she is female after all - but let's face it, she looks smashing in a dress."

He might as well sing "eh, whaddya gonna do, GURLS, EH?" and go back to crying in his beer.

Well I for one won't stand it. YES it's a tender, lilting ballad with a beautiful melody, straight off a production line of classic '70s radio hits. YES it's a reflective meditation from a man who has seen too much, on the ups and downs of his troubled love life. YES Fyfe Dangerfield out of the Guillemots has a name like he's a spy, code-name double-oh banana - with a license to peel, and YES he makes a decent fist of it, without getting in the way of the original too much.

But at the end of the day, it's still a guy moaning on about how evil women can be, and how men just have to put up with it because, well, they're women. And this is a classic love song?

People are WEIRD.

Three starsDownload: Out now
BBC Music page

(Fraser McAlpine)

Twenty-Seven Views says: "The track sounds incredibly similar to the original but is just as endearing."


  • Comment number 1.

    "Then you could guarantee a song would get into the charts , because it was in a TV commercial , and no one had ever heard it before "

    This is not a true statement . Regarding those famous Jeans adverts , some of the songs used , HAD been hits before , and had been heard by thousands of people . For example :

    Marvin Gaye - I Heard It Through The Grapevine .

    Originally a number 1 in 1969 , and then reissued for the advert , and reaching number 8 in 1986 .

    The Clash - Should I Stay or Should I Go ?

    Originally number 17 in 1982 , reissued for the advert and reaching number 1 in 1991 .

    There are lots of other examples , that dispel that statement .

    Expect the wonderful Fyffe Dangerfield to be in your top 20 tomorrow .

  • Comment number 2.

    It is a true statement:

    First the ad-people used popular old songs, like Marvin's, and THEN they started to use new ones, like Stiltskin's 'Inside' and Babylon Zoo's 'Spaceman'. Then everything else happened.

    It might not be a particularly detailed account of the times, but it's true.

  • Comment number 3.

    Wow! Spirit sure is Mr. Grumpy today, he's picking holes in all of the Big F's reviews.

  • Comment number 4.

    Yeah. Spirit's being doing that a lot lately. Of course, I think he might just be overly pedantic.

  • Comment number 5.

    This, along with the fabolous hey, soul sister by train, is my favourite song at the moment.

    It's number 14 at the moment but I think (and hope) it'll be in the top ten in the next week or so.

  • Comment number 6.

    Yeah , the "people hadn't heard it in ages " line , now makes a it a whole lot better .

    Good to see Fyfe in the charts again , and taking this song to it's highest EVER position .

    It was never even a top 40 hit for Billy Joel until last week , when people downloaded it and took it to 29 ,on the strength of the advert.

  • Comment number 7.

    I didn't change the review at all, Spirit. I think you might've misread it, sorry.

  • Comment number 8.

    Do we need some sort of boxing refferee on the scene here?! Calm, down both of you, and listen to the song. Its beautiful.

  • Comment number 9.

    This song is heading for the top ten .


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