Don't Mess With Her, Boyfriend; On Second Thought, Go Right Ahead

Unlike obvious analog Avril Lavigne, whose own debut laid waste to a few punky pop songs and half-inflated slow ones and left it at that, Fefe Dobson seems game for anything. Fefe Dobson is overstuffed with piano ballads, Pink-style dance-rock tracks, and lots of songs about absent fathers and tattooed, controlling boyfriends. It's the sort of thing teenage girls regard as holy writ, and everyone else will likely find blustery and obvious.

Dobson, an 18-year-old, biracial Canadian, is too mild to make recurring Pat Benatar comparisons stick, either: Benatar would have promptly eviscerated the rampaging virginity-stealer of "Give It Up," while Dobson doesn't seem too sure. Her frequent I'm-not-a-girl-to-be-trifled-with/Wait-a-minute-yes-I-am waffling is the closest she comes to nuance.

The charming, surpassingly dumb "Stupid Little Love Song" is the sole memorable track, a detailed account of class envy set to a faux-thrashy beat: Fefe loves the Harvard-bound Connecticut senator's son, but Society keeps them apart (it's either fictional, or the best song ever about Christopher Dodd). Before leaving in defeat, Fefe applies her powers of musical persuasion in a last-ditch serenade. Next time, she might want to send a card instead.

 
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