tremble clef

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Lisa Stansfield, "Takes A Woman To Know" (2004)

It takes a woman to know...what, exactly?

As usual, in my hour of befuddlement I turn to google. And my little googlie wooglie tells me that, first of all, of course, it takes a woman to know a woman. Sometimes, ahem, we mean that biblically. Further, it takes a woman to know what the REAL Y2K issues are. But also, men apparently can't moo worth a shit -- it takes a woman to know how to moo. And that, my friends, answers that.

The other puzzle associated with this song is why it wasn't released as a single and a big hit. Poor Lisa seems resolutely out-of-fashion; towards the end of last year she put out her album The Moment, produced by Trevor Horn and on the ZTT label. Commercially it did, as far as I can tell, absolutely nothing (and in fact news is that she has now left ZTT).

I'm not too narked by the failure of the album. Trevor's production is slick but unremarkable, and despite there being a few good songs (the understated "Easier" and the bouncy "If I Hadn't Got You" singles, as well as a reasonable cover of Prefab Sprout's "When Love Breaks Down" for which Paddy wrote a new verse), the album was a little too chockful of snoozesome ballads and the kind of smooth soul numbers for which Lisa (and, by now, no one else) has always had a bit of weakness for.

But right at the end of The Moment is this rather fabulous song. And by "fabulous" I mean "somewhere a drag queen is having wet dreams thinking about how to go to town on this baby." Lyrically it's a variation on "All Woman," all "you don't appreciate my bitchin' womanhood nearly enough, hear me roar." We start with some electronic squiggles, Lisa sings the verse in a low, near-monotone, but then, BAM! Everything goes up a notch as Lisa lets loose on the huge chorus and the chugging electronic bits are replaced by strings that swoop in and caress everything in damned sight. There's even a nice little bridge near the end that's a bit poignant, ending with the requisite high "good-BYE!!!" glory note.

I'm sure this will be all too cabaret for many, but frankly I feel like a little drama today. And god knows we all need to see drag queens move beyond covers of The Weather Girls and Shania Twain.


  • Wow, this is quite bizarre. The verse is all Holly Valance 1st album, but then the chorus goes all stomping.

    I'll file this one under bizarre!

    By Anonymous Trixie, at 7:14 PM  

  • It is a little bit electro-big band.

    By Blogger Brittle, at 9:23 PM  

  • Wow -- what Shania Twain song is popular with drag queens? Not that the answer will probably tell me much, since I don't think I really know any Shania Twain songs, but still...

    By Anonymous aurora floyd, at 11:40 AM  

  • You know -- "Man, I Feel Like A Woman Tonight." You don't even have to know the song to see why it just might be popular with the drag queens. In fact I think it was written to bait them, a huge bag of drag catnip if you will.

    By Blogger Brittle, at 1:06 PM  

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