Artist: Dusty Springfield
Album: A Girl Called Dusty
Genre: Blue-Eyed Soul/ Pop
“If a sea of fire, it was surrounding you
Oh, don’t you know, don’t you know?
I would find a way to get through
Because nothing, nothing, nothing, I said no, not nothing
Nothing in the world’s gonna keep me away from you”
Oh Dusty. Dusty, Dusty, how I yearned to hear you sing. Really but not really at the same time. You see, I already knew of Dusty Springfield’s songs and have heard a few of them. She always came across as a 60s high school sweetheart and I found myself actually enjoying it when she came on the radio (60s on 6, Xm radio, you know it). Needless to say I had a bit of a crush on Dusty. Hard not to. She sings with such a great blend of innocence and sensuality that she’s practically every guy’s dream girl (theoretically of course). If she was much younger, Or I was the age I am now in 1964, I’d probably be in love with her. But I’m 24 in 2017 and she’s dead, so that doesn’t work at all (Unless you’re into that kind of thing… please no).
There was a part of me that was excited to get to this album, but this week another part of me just didn’t really want to do anything. I’ve slowed down a bit, with my blog, with other projects, with productivity in general. Why? Briefly, I’ve hit a down and it’s been hard getting over it. I’ve been having one of those weeks where you walk around like a zombie, doing your day-to-day routine at work, not really being happy but not sad either. You just are. Nothing to it. But as the end of the week was coming near I knew I had to push myself to be productive, even if it was only baby steps. I told myself, It doesn’t matter how I’m feeling, It doesn’t matter if I don’t feel like doing anything, the only way I can fight this is by doing anyway and proving it wrong. That’s what I did and I’m happy I did.
It’s as if Dusty Springfield came up at the perfect time in the context of my life. Right away the first song sang lyrics that said ” Mama Said There will always be days like this”. Wow… how relevant. Yeah, she’s right, I will always have days like this, no point fretting over it. Damn, thanks Dusty. And that song was immediately followed by what I’d like to call a Strong Woman’s Anthem, declaring to the men she’s seeing that she isn’t their object and she’s her own person, so don’t go treating her like she’s a trophy to display and tell her what to do. She ain’t taking shit from you. Damn Dusty, you’re starting this album off strong. I found that particular song to be quite poignant, especially considering the time it came out. In the 1960s the feminist movement was on the rise, woman getting together to fight for their rights and get the equality they both wanted and needed. If anything, Dusty would prove to be a great role model for these woman. Here was a genre of music that was mostly dominated by men and Dusty pushed her way through the crowd and would become one of the first Female rock icons at a time where it was probably laughed at or frowned upon. She didn’t care, she showed off that she could do it to and she tapped into a group of people that hadn’t been yet: the frustrated young adult women. Sure big pop icons like the Beatles and Elvis were being followed and loved by huge groups of women, but Dusty was different. Where they loved the men for being cute and sexy, they loved Dusty for being someone they can look to and say “Hey, that’s me, she gets me”. She wasn’t just Dusty Springfield, she was a representation of all the young adult women who just wanted to do their thing and have fun too. And that’s what Dusty did, as she sings through every song with beauty and a sort of hidden sensuality, she reminds the world of 1964 that women were just as capable as doing what the men were and “You Don’t Own Me” is proof of that. With that one song she was showing that women could stand their ground and be their own without men telling them otherwise. If she wasn’t a role model, she really should have been.
That being said, the power kind of ends there as the rest of the album is mostly just straight forward pop songs and some mo-town influenced music. For the most part, they’re enjoyable but not the most memorable, except possibly the hit Wishin’ and Hopin’, which god damn I can never get out of my head. This song has plagued me since my parents forced me to watch My Best Friend’s Wedding with them when I was a kid. But plagued in a good way, because there’s such an innocence to it that just makes you feel nice inside. But it was stills tuck in my head, which is never fun, no matter what the song.
This doesn’t make the album bad, a little dated maybe, but it seems that most pop albums from the 60s are pretty dated. That’s what I’m learning as I go through each one. But if you think about it, an album full of pop songs was exactly what she needed to do to get noticed. If she had an entire album in vain of “You Don’t Own Me” it probably wouldn’t have made such an impact as the male-dominated sector of music would have tried to hide it in fear of some revolution that needed to happen at the time. She needed the pop hits to get on the charts with everyone else and get noticed. It’s the idea of doing what you need to do to get your name and face out there and once you do, you hit hard with what you want. Classic in the art world. So, the album as a whole may not be the greatest, but it helped Dusty cement herself as a rock icon and showed that even the females could do what the men were doing in rock and pop, singing and dancing and dressing as they did and still being hits.
As a side note, I might have to revisit this album because I don’t know if I listened to the proper version of it. The songs were all the right songs, but as I was listening to it there seemed to be a stylistic change between some of the songs that sounded odd and one of them was in french… which is just wrong. I still got a good gist of the whole thing because it was still all the same songs, but a quick search told me that the remastered version of the album actually has different takes and sounds completely different than the original… well fantastic (Seriously, why do groups do this? It’s incredibly frustrating). So I think I got a blend of both and the french song came from her album of french recordings. Thankfully I understand french so I didn’t miss out on the experience of the song, but I would still like to revisit this album when I find all the songs in their original format to truly experience the whole album.
This doesn’t change anything I’e said though.
Song of Choice: You Don’t Own Me