Frou Frou ~ The Dumbing Down Of Love [2⊘⊘2]

The closing track on Frou Frou’s first and only album Details, “The Dumbing Down Of Love” appears as an admonition of the trite, formulaic love songs too many musicians have written throughout the years in a vain attempt to gain fame and fortune. Still, it is only one of many possible meanings attributable to this lovely, if enigmatic, song-poem shining a spotlight on those shadowed souls achingly wanting of a voice.

“Well-painted passion,
You rightly suspect,
The dumbing down of love”

Frou Frou (/ˈfruːfruː/) is the British electronic duo of Imogen Heap (musician/vocalist) and Guy Sigsworth (producer/songwriter). Their music, an eclectic blended trip-hop pop intricately produced with extensive “finesse and trickery” using a wide range of traditional instruments in combination with Heap’s heavily layered vocals such that they, “sound like a chorus of different people.” Their band name was decided upon when Francophile Sigsworth noticed the phrase in a Baudelaire poem. Apparently, when uttered in French, the phrase is meant to approximate the swishing of skirts as they swirl about the legs of comely dancing women, as in a burlesque performance. It also means “fussy details.”


“Jaded in anger,
Love underwhelms you,
No box of chocolates,
Whichever way you fall”

The song itself appears to contain at least two literary references, one with the line “well-painted passion” being a perhaps appropriate Shakespearean allusion to Othello’s calling out of Desdemona as an unfaithful liar, and another (shown below) reminiscent of David Bowie’s “Young Americans” lyric, “Ain’t there one damn song that can make me break down and cry?” Interestingly, Imogen’s name twins that of Shakespeare’s Imogen, the virtuous daughter of King Cymbeline, known for her moral purity in his play named after said same King.

“Music is worthless unless it can,
Make a complete stranger,
Break down and cry”

The accompanying magnificent and unique art montage created by Joel Peissig would go on to win the Best Video award at the Resfest Digital Film Festival in 2003.



As always, Wikipedia was instrumental in hammering out the details

7 thoughts on “Frou Frou ~ The Dumbing Down Of Love [2⊘⊘2]

  1. “Music is worthless unless it can,
    Make a complete stranger,
    Break down and cry”…
    Best lines in the song. Music…more precisely, song lyrics…have made me cry. When I was a teenager, I listened over and over to an old song called “I Am A Rock” by Simon and Garfunkel. This song touched me almost as deeply. The woman’s bluesy voice pairs well with the words, and the use of so much red in the video speaks of a bleeding heart.
    I noticed you added a link to the lyrics. 😊 By reading them, I was able to catch every word, which added to my enjoyment of the song. 🖤

    1. The thought was excellent and I thank you for it. You have the skill of being able to suggest something without suggesting it. Not many people can do that and it’s an admirable skill. Simon & Garfunkel is simply a standard. Wow, I’m embarrassed to admit I’ve never really paid much attention to the lyrics of “I Am A Rock”. So incredibly beautiful, I can see why it touched you. For me, it was “The Sound Of Silence”, playing one night, alone in my youth at my grandmother’s house, staring out her vast bay window at the streetlight-shown stillness, only distant trees swaying in the breezy rustling wind. Winsome, somber, melancholic, it’s one of those rare unshakeable memories I think we all collect over time. 🖤

      1. Ah, “The Sound of Silence”….a good one as well. Their song “The Boxer” I think was their best-known hit.
        I’ve seen it written that music is the soundtrack of our lives; it certainly applies to me. So many of my memories, and people I’ve known, are tied to a particular song. Lesa, my cousin and life-long best friend (until she died of cancer several years ago), loved Otis Redding’s “Dock of the Bay.” At the oddest times, the song will pop into my mind, and I’ll think of her and smile.

      2. Truth. Seems like life has been a series of vignettes, episodic even, and different music is associated with different episodes. Sorry to hear about your cousin. That’s cool that the song makes you smile in remembrance though. 🤗 I’ve heard it said we each die twice, once when we physically die, and the other when we are no longer remembered. 🖤

      3. I haven’t heard that one, but it brought an adage to mind I have heard. I can’t recall it verbatim, but it goes something like: people you love are not really gone as long as you remember them. Seems like the two tie together.

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