Copyediting pop

So now that “Big Girls Don’t Cry” (perched this past week at #3) is Fergie’s second-biggest single from The Dutchess, can I just say how much the line “I’m gonna miss you like a child misses their blanket” bothers me? Not just because Everything But the Girl rocked a far more lovely and potent metaphor for missing someone, but good God, that “their” just screams to be fixed. I know it’s increasingly treated as standard spoken English, and I’m not saying she should get all proper with a clunky “his or her,” but what about just “her”? It makes the image more specific, anyway, like maybe that child is Lil’ Stacy Ferguson and her present-day longing is compounded by some wistful memory of youth. Shit, even “its” would do.

Even notwithstanding this grammatical mishap, I prefer the two singles that didn’t crack the top five. The electro spelling bee “Fergalicious” and the lush, fame-dizzy “Glamorous” (the latter of which reminds me of “Cool” and “Luxurious,” those two underrated late singles from Gwen Stefani’s first album) both trump the treacly “Big Girls” and the squawky “London Bridge” any day.

EDIT: In comments below, Al Shipley schools me on the actual Fergie chart positions, which for some reason I was remembering all wrong. “Glamorous” reached #1 and “Fergalicious” #2.


5 thoughts on “Copyediting pop

  1. lmb

    Funny, because I was just complaining to my friend who forced me onto Facebook about the same thing. Facebook uses “their” to replace “his” or “her,” and it drives me batty. “John has added a picture to their profile,” etc. It should be fixable in Facebook, since they freakin’ know each user’s gender.

    And now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, I agree that even “its” would be better.

  2. Dave

    I love that line. It’s so bizarre! Who else in pop would even consider writing a line like that, and then consider delivering it earnestly, and then kinda throw you for a loop because you’re never sure how “earnest” they’re — wait, she’s — being in the first place, what with her entire ouevre being completely unpredictably batshit but simultaneously 100% derivative of obvious (usually contemporary) touchstones?

    “Luxurious” is totally perplexing, too, but smooth enough musically so you don’t notice…you gotta have money to party with her, but then she’s going to spend the rest of the song saying she’s a regular gal from a regular family and she still eats at Taco Bell and etc. etc. etc.? SHE’S INSANE. It’s wonderful.

  3. Al

    Presuming you’re referring to the Hot 100, you’ve got your Fergie single chart peaks way wrong. “Glamorous” hit #1 and “Fergalicious” went to #2, so “Big Girls” actually is the fourth-biggest single from the album. It’s funny that you should note a similiarity between “Luxurious” and “Glamorous”: the latter’s beat and Ludacris verse are recycled from Polow Da Don’s remix of the former.

    I always hear the line as “that blanket,” so it never really bothered me. I think I’m going to try to keep thinking of the line that way.

  4. seaworthyset

    You’re absolutely right, Al, and I’m not sure why I thought otherwise. Actually, I do vaguely remember now that “Glamorous” hit #1, but I don’t recall “Fergalicious” making it that far at all. This’ll teach me to check Wikipedia first.

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