Doobie Brothers – What a Fool Believes

First Hit #1: April 14, 1979

I don’t know why, but I’m finding it difficult to say much interesting about What A Fool Believes. The unkind might say I don’t find much interesting to say about most things, but that’s another matter entirely. It’s an odd situation, because there’s a lot going on here. It’s dance music that is breaking from the regular disco format, the synthesizer work owes a large debt of gratitude to Stevie Wonder, the lyrics remain quite dark for what is a pretty fun dance song – about a guy trying to rekindle a one-sided romance with a woman who never noticed him, and being completely rejected – and it’s the kind of thing one should be able to go on about.

But for some reason, and it might be the silly but undeniably fun synthesizer riff going on, I just sit there and go “hey this is a fun little song” when I listen to it and sort of zone out for three or so minutes. I guess that’s what a good pop song tries to do, but it makes it very difficult to try to actually probe deeper into it.

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One Response to Doobie Brothers – What a Fool Believes

  1. Robert Berman says:

    Good call on the Stevie Wonder influence. This song also cemented the band’s move from their early jazz/blues/country hybrid (e.g. “Black Water”; “Long Train Runnin'”) into the soft rock style for which the work of vocalist Michael McDonald (and his songwriting accomplice Kenny Loggins) would be known for the next ten years. I’ve heard it called “blue eyed soul,” but I don’t see the soul connection on this track at least. Still, it captures the moment enough to win both “Record of the Year” and “Song of the Year” in 1980.

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