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Single Review: Ashanti “Foolish”

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Ashanti rather than be in an unhealthy relationship than alone in the stock pop of “Foolish.”

The keyboard sample of the 1983 DeBarge song “Stay With Me” opens the single, setting a familiar tone. Producer Irv Gotti whispers the name of the record company, “Murder, Inc.” and “Ashanti” to let listeners know that they aren’t listening to Notorious B.I.G.’s “One More Chance (Remix).”

In the chorus, Ashanti explains that the she misses being with her boyfriend. However, when she is hanging out with him, he insults her. It wounds her. Even though she can longer stand being around him, she still returns to him.

In the first verse, she doesn’t understand why he’s cruel towards her. He says he loves her, she’s his first priority in life and everything he needs. Yet, he cheats on her. She’s depressed and can’t find the strength to get out the relationship. A part of her thinks he will eventually change.

“Baby I don’t know why ya treatin’ me so bad/You said you love me, no one above me/And I was all you had/And though my heart is eating for ya/I can’t stop crying/I don’t know how/I allow you to treat me this way and still I stay.”

In the second verse, she reasons that she’s been loyal and forgiving. It’s why his lies and neglect are a blow to her. He goes out with his friends all the time, excluding her. Meanwhile, she’s home by herself. She starts thinking she deserves better. Then, she stops and remembers that she cares for him. The denial begins all over again. The relationship has been long-term and for Ashanti, this her one shot at happiness.

“Baby I don’t know why ya wanna do me wrong/See when I’m home, I’m all alone/And you are always gone/And boy, you know I really love you/I can’t deny/I can’t see how you could bring me to so many tears/After all these years.”

In the bridge, she says she believed everything he told her. She scolds herself for her naivete. She enabled him to be mean to her. She now looks back and thinks she should’ve stood up for herself. She asks for women to relate to her to sing along with the song. She has mustered the courage to dump him. However, he manipulates her. He says she’s necessary to him. She thinks that maybe he will treat her better. She chews herself out for going back to him. However, the same routine begins all over again. She’s alone more often than with him.

“I trusted you, I trusted you/So sad, so sad/What love will make you do/All the things that we accept/Be the things that we regret/To all of my ladies (ladies)/Feel me c’mon sing wit me/See, when I get the strength to leave/You always tell me that you need me/And I’m weak ’cause I believe you/And I’m mad because I love you/So I stop and think that maybe/You can learn to appreciate me/Then it all remains the same that/You ain’t never gonna change/(Never gonna change, never gonna change).”

In the second bridge, she once again asks why he leaves alone even though she loves him. She stares out her bedroom window, imagining herself having a romantic relationship which satsifies her. She gets out a suitcase and puts some clothes in it. Then, she stops. She can’t be by herself.

“Baby why you hurt me leave me and desert me/Boy I gave you all my heart/And all you do is tear it up/Looking out my window/Knowing that I should go/Even when I pack my bags/This something always hold me back.”

A shy piano pauses between notes as indulgent strings end the single.

For “Foolish,” the term sample should be loosely used. Technically, it can be listed as such. But given the Notorious B.I.G. “One More Chance (Remix)” had only used the keyboard sample also, “Foolish” can be considered plagiarism. In this case, it’s meant to be confused with “One More Chance (Remix)” and become cool by association to it.

Even it had been without the sample, the single still would’ve been an failure on the creative front. Ashanti repeats the same ideas several different ways. The message, stay in a bad relationship because being single is horrible, is worse. Ashanti is afraid to be independent. Her identity is the relationship. It’s likely the only reason she gained friends and a social life. For her, losing that means her life is gone. She can’t be alone to even think. Her thoughts scare her and remind that there is something more out there.

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About Pam Avoledo