Review Summary: Oversexed nonsense Stacy Ann Ferguson was born in Hacienda Heights, California, the daughter of Terri Jackson (née Gore) and Patrick Ferguson. She studied dance and began to do voice-over work, providing the voice for Sally in two made-for-television Peanuts cartoons, as well as on four episodes of The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show. From 1984 to 1989, she starred on the TV show Kids Incorporated. All that time, she was a cheerleader, straight-A student and a spelling bee champion, as well as a Girl Scout.
With that interesting, accurate depiction of Fergie's history from Wikipedia, let's get to the point. Fergie's album is exactly like her life: all over the place. She's riding a unicycle on a thin wire blindfolded while juggling numerous oranges in the air, as well as singing "London Bridge is falling down". Naturally, the audience of this bizzare circus act would be desperate men wanting her to perform oral s*x on them by "going down like London Bridge". (But then again, sex sells in pop.
But overdoing it isn't exactly productive - it starts to sound cliched and tired) It's reasonably entertaining, but you can definitely feel Fergie's desperately trying to be a success, trying so hard to balance on that thin wire, that she falls off.
Let's start with the second single (and opening track), Fergalicious. Featuring will.i.am, it's about how delicious and TASTEY she is (interestingly, the album title is a misspelling too [its Duchess]) Fergie is a singer, not a rapper, but the latter is what she chooses to portray herself as on more than half the album. What's disappointing about the album is that Fergie, in her obvious attempt to be a superstar, ends up aping others' musical personality (The addictive "London Bridge" sounds a lot like "Hollaback Girl" and her own "My Humps"). Luckily, the flawless production is the album's saving grace (listen to "Fergalicious", "Pedestal", and "Mary Jane Shoes")
For someone who's experience a lot in life, Fergie's lyrics aren't exactly very original, even though she co-writes the whole album. On "Pedestal", the "London Bridge" rhyme is used again (with mixed results), which shows Fergie b*tching about celebrity bloggers like Perez Hilton. Fergie is a superstar, and probably has her share of nasty rumours circulated on the interwebs, but this track, while having excellent production, fails to sound convincing as a satiric lash against the anonymous silhouettes that "hide behind computer screens", but it's admittedly a good effort. Other examples of absent lyrical profoundity is "Mary Jane Shoes" and "Here I Come", the former in which the chorus is just a reiteration of "Wooh my Mary Janes", and tries to cram lots of genres into four minutes.
However, it's when Fergie starts to sing (wow, who would have thought it?) with gutso and emotion that the tracks really stand out, like "Big Girls Don't Cry" and the aptly-named "Finally". She doesn't exactly belt with the force of Kelly Clarkson, but it's definitely more personal than any ballad Britney Spears has come up with. The theatrical "Finally" features John Legend on piano, and shows a softer, more touching (and less sexual) side to Fergie's voice. However, even when she sings, it can't exactly redeem the rubbish that is "Voodoo Doll" or the sugary, sampled, well-crafted "Clumsy". Despite its numerous, shortcomings, The Dutchess is an album riddled with potential mass hits like "Fergalicious" and "Clumsy", but often sacrifices artistry for mass-audience appeal, turning The Dutchess into a forgettable album, something that will lie in your rubbish bin after its singles on the radio stop getting airplay.
4. London Bridge
10. Big Girls Don't Cry