A Pachelbel’s Canon-esque synth line. A relentless electro drum loop. The blurred lines in the minefield of male chauvinism and chivalry, feminism, morality, family values, sexual politics, and the need for education. No, it’s not the Manic Street Preachers: it’s ex-Fugee Wyclef Jean’s sensational bombast of strip-club etiquette and stripper love, Perfect Gentleman.
Wyclef loves strippers, he says most men do, but he wants real emotion: "the kind of tears that money couldn’t buy". He meets Hope. Hope is beautiful, lithe and supple. She only go-go dances to pay for her schooling, she’s solely it in for the money. She’d love to be taken "away from her, so far/ … no more stripping in bars". Sir Wyclef of Jean rescues her and takes her away to Mexico on a big white horse. Dear reader, she married him. So far, so fairy story, but he is very keen to point out that she is not a ho, a hooker, because this makes her acceptable to his mother.
I think someone could probably write a thesis on the sociological aspects of ‘Perfect Gentleman’s lyrics, but musically there is no need. It’s a perfect pop song, it’s catchy, bouncy, gritty, controversial, beautiful, makes you think, makes you dance, and sometimes, if the weather is right, it makes you cry.
Jamie Woods, Super Kawaii POP!
[Album: The Ecleftic]