Phil Vassar, "Bobbi with an I"

phil-vassarI’ve had to listen to this song several times

just to be sure it was real and not just an insane figment of my imagination. But alas, whether I like it or not, it is real and I’m the one who has been charged with the task of attributing words from the English language to this strange composition, which suddenly seems limiting. So, please excuse my casual tone just this once, because I’m going to have to forgo the formal conventions of a review in order to even come close to adequately describing this song.

“Bobby With an I” is about a cross dresser. Bobby is a man’s man during the week, but he turns into Bobbi when the work week is through. He makes such a convincing woman that “you better watch how much you drink/He might look better than you think.” Right.

Despite how others may feel about the somewhat subversive topic, it is actually a redeeming quality of the song. While it’s treated very lightly here, it is still likely to offend the sensibilities of some disapproving country music listeners. However, what offends my sensibilities is the execution of the song in general.

When the song begins, it almost sounds as though Vassar is getting ready to launch into Offspring’s “Pretty Fly for A White Guy” (Remember that song?). But then we suddenly switch to a bunch of consecutive “ha ha, ah ah’s” before finally getting to the meat of the song, which is all accompanied by a catchy, but soon to become annoying, melody and production. As if the funky production and kitschy lyrics aren’t bewildering enough, Vassar’s voice just can’t seem to rise to the occasion of hitting certain notes without obviously straining beyond his capabilities as a vocalist.

With all of that said, there’s an unexplainable addictive quality to this song that has forced me to hit repeat over and over again. I’m confident, however, that it’s not a guilty pleasure, but rather, disbelief that such a wacky song not only exists, but has been released to radio and didn’t stay hidden as an eccentric album track. In fact, while “You could have heard a chin drop/the minute he (Bobby…err…Bobbi) walked in”, you could have seen a chin drop the minute I heard this song.

Grade: N/A

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I’ve had to listen to this song several times just to be sure it was real and not just an insane figment of my imagination. But alas, whether I like it or not, it is real and I’m the one who has been charged with the task of attributing words from the English language to this strange composition, which suddenly seems limiting. So, please excuse my casual tone just this once, because I’m going to have to forgo the formal conventions of a review in order to even come close to adequately describing this song.
“Bobby With an I” is about a cross dresser. Bobby is a man’s man during the week, but he turns into Bobbi when the work week is through. He makes such a convincing woman that “you better watch how much you drink/He might look better than you think.” Right.
Despite how others may feel about the somewhat subversive topic, it is actually a redeeming quality of the song. While it’s treated very lightly here, it is still likely to offend the sensibilities of some disapproving country music listeners. However, what offends my sensibilities is the execution of the song in general.
When the song begins, it almost sounds as though Vassar is getting ready to launch into Offspring’s “Pretty Fly for A White Guy” (Remember that song?). But then we suddenly switch to a bunch of consecutive “ha ha, ah ah’s” before finally getting to the meat of the song, which is all accompanied by a catchy, but soon to become annoying, melody and production. As if the funky production and kitschy lyrics aren’t bewildering enough, Vassar’s voice just can’t seem to rise to the occasion of hitting certain notes without obviously straining beyond his capabilities as a vocalist.
With all of that said, there’s an unexplainable addictive quality to this song that has forced me to hit repeat over and over again. I’m confident, however, that it’s not a guilty pleasure, but rather, disbelief that such a wacky song not only exists, but has been released to radio and didn’t stay hidden as an eccentric album track. In fact, while “You could have heard a chin drop/the minute he (Bobby…err…Bobbi) walked in”, you could have seen a chin drop the minute I heard this song.
Grade: N/A
Listen: Bobby With an I
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32 Comments

Filed under Single Reviews

32 Responses to Phil Vassar, "Bobbi with an I"

  1. Cutting the TreacleNo Gravatar

    Bobby sounds like a great guy. The kind who’s always on your side. The kind who’d never leave his friends behind.

  2. RadioNo Gravatar

    ^^^lol.
    Does he know a cross dresser or something? Intentionally trying to start controversy? About to become an activist? He better not go with the “it has a sorta funny story to tell, that’s also relevant to the times” answer. I can’t see him randomly up and cutting a song like this. And I don’t think even country people my age (over 18/under 30) will care about the character.

  3. Am I the only one who honestly thinks this song is fun?

  4. TammyNo Gravatar

    I love the song!!!! It has a great beat and Phil did a great job with it.

  5. Dan MillikenNo Gravatar

    I think the first paragraph of this review is one of my favorite paragraphs on a blog ever.

    Haven’t made up my mind about the song, though! Yeesh…

  6. I don’t think Vassar intended to offend anyone or start a controversy, though it’s probably inevitable that this will be the result. It’s just a bad song.

  7. Herb SemonesNo Gravatar

    The song is obviously about a character in Key West…probably someone who was at the Songwriters Festival no doubt! It is a lighthearted fun song…give the guy a break…he is not trying to make a statement…chill out all you homophobes…I think Phil has proven himself enough already…my two cents!

  8. maryNo Gravatar

    this is an awesome song i love it my husbands name is bobby he hates it but i love it it is one of my favorite songs

  9. Linda JeffriesNo Gravatar

    Radio… everyone knows a crossdresser. You just might not realize it.

    J.R. Journey… You’ve got company ‘cuz I think it is a fun song too.

    Points Phil Vassar for even broaching the subject in this genre of music.

    Now, did I remember to pick up my lavendar party dress from the cleaners?

  10. SeanNo Gravatar

    I cant wait to see the video….

  11. JeanNo Gravatar

    Awesome FUN song. Love the beat. So cool. He did a great job.

  12. DarleneNo Gravatar

    Okay, let me clear the air about this song. It is not referring to a crossdresser – at least not the way you think. It is, however, a true story referring to a clever-minded friend of Phil’s who dressed up in order to get into a bar for free drinks during ladies night. I got that information from the Phil man himself. The video links are out there for this song and will add light on the matter. Take a look for yourself.

  13. Leeann WardNo Gravatar

    The song itself gives no indication of that senario, which is what I must go by for a review.

  14. Chris ChambersNo Gravatar

    This writer has NO IDEA! The only reason Bobby dresses up like that is for ladies night at a club. Ladies get free drinks on ladies night and I know a couple of guys who are crazy enough to wear anything for FREE BEER!

  15. Leeann WardNo Gravatar

    Chris,Please show me where this is indicated in the song. I’m sure it was a safe concept for a video, and perhaps what the writers had in mind as the song was being written, but there’s no indication of it in the song. In fact, there’s not even any mention of other women, only other men being around throughout the song. Furthermore, is Lady’s Night usually on the weekend, the time that this song takes place (as said in the first verse of the song)? As someone who doesn’t frequent bars, I don’t know for sure, but I thought Lady’s Nights tended to be on week nights. I can concede this point though.

  16. Leeann WardNo Gravatar

    Whoa. I wrote “song” way too many times in my previous comment.

  17. Dan MillikenNo Gravatar

    Not only is the “ladies night” thing never mentioned in the song itself; the song’s second verse actually mentions how there’s a history of people reacting mockingly to Bobby/Bobbi’s cross-dressing, so we know it’s not a one-time stunt.

    Anyway, I hate that video for exactly the reason Leeann touched on – it takes the safe way out with its interpretation, thereby disowning the only thing that makes the song interesting in the first place. I’m not saying cross-dressing-related humor can’t be good – it’s a staple of comedy, really – but when the song’s original subject seems to be an actual cross-dresser, it strikes me as rather ball-less to try and pass the whole thing off as a joke.

  18. D. GrantNo Gravatar

    I think that it is a great song and a lot of fun! If you watch the video you’d understand that the “cross dressing” is because it’s ladies night and Bobby finds a way to get free beer…

    If you don’t like it, don’t listen – but let the rest of us enjoy!

  19. Earl (not THAT Earl!)No Gravatar

    I heard this song for the first time last night and even though I was a little surprised by it, I actually enjoyed the lyrics and compostition.
    In response to Mary’s comment: I am sorry that your husband is offended, but at least it takes the heat off of me…. Earl’s Gotta Die (Dixie Chicks)
    Overall I would say the song is interesting and catchy.

  20. Kim MillerNo Gravatar

    Hey–I think the song is pretty cool! And if you watch the video, you will see that ‘Bobby’ becomes ‘Bobbi’ because it is girl’s night, drinks are free, and he is broke. Just taking advantage of the situation, wouldn’t we all do the same?? LOL

  21. chesnuttisoverratedNo Gravatar

    The song itself says nothing about dressing up “because it is girl’s night, drinks are free, and he is broke.” People who dont watch videos (such as myself) would never get the “free beer”angle.

    And, if Bobby really wants to save money, wouldn’t it be cheaper just to buy the drinks than to buy an entire woman’s outfit, and makeup, and all that? Seems like a false economy to me.

  22. i love the song. and the video is GREAT. it is upbeat and fun. love it. LOVE IT. thaks phil. and it is not what you think. he is just a GUY haveing fun.

  23. DillonNo Gravatar

    I love this song its hiliorous. And if you watch the music video it makes sense

  24. VickiNo Gravatar

    I’m a little late because I just came across this, but have to comment. This song was just meant in fun and Darlene is absolutely right about how the song came about. If you know Phil at all, or have seen him in concert, you would know he had no agenda, he truly does know a guy who dressed up to get free drinks on ladies’ night. I thought this song was so much fun, but too many people can’t just enjoy a song, there has to be a hidden meaning and too many people try to find offense when there is none.
    And sorry, I have no idea who you are, to be criticizing Phil Vassar’s voice. He is the most amazing singer, songwriter, piano man, and all-around entertainer that I have ever had the privilage of hearing and getting to know. He can sing anything or play anything you throw his way. Before you become a critic, maybe you should do some homework on the artist you are so quick to judge.

  25. Leeann WardNo Gravatar

    What kind of homework do you think I should have done before writing this review? Listen to the song? Check. Listen to his voice? Check. Listen to the lyrics? Check. Take the lyrics at face value? Check.

  26. Leeann WardNo Gravatar

    By the way, the review would have been much more negative if I had known the inspiration behind the song before I wrote it, since the inspiration is not reflected in the lyrics in anyway. Not even a hint. Tell me where it even suggests that he’s referring to a man dressing up as a woman to get free drinks on Lady’s Night. Surely you’re not telling me that the only way a critic is qualified to review a song is if they’ve been to the artist’s concerts? If you are, that’s quite a disconnect .

  27. ZackNo Gravatar

    Leeann, after reading the lyrics and listening to the song, I wholeheartdly (sp?) agree with your stance with the song.

    I think its a song that was poorly executed and had great potential…
    The song itself is sung in an annoying way, I am not too crazy over it.

    I also (before watching the video) found no indication in that song of that story.

    Good Review Leeann.

    my personal grade: F

  28. VickiNo Gravatar

    You have a right to your opinion, just like I have a right to mine. I didn’t know the story behind the song at first either, but thought it was a fun song. Some of Phil’s songs are deeper and have a lot of emotion in them. Others are written just for fun, like “Bobbi” was. No, you don’t have to see Phil live in concert to do a review of his music, but if you haven’t, then you are missing out. He’s the hardest working man in country music and he never stops. He taught himself to play the piano, and is now considered to be the “piano man” of country music. He is an amazing songwriter and has won many awards and has had many hit songsm with many more to come. His voice is amazing and is even better live, which we all know is not the case with many artists out there. I have never been to a concert where the artist puts so much into his performances. I have been a fan of Phil’s music for almost 10 years, but did not get the opportunity to see him live until 2 years ago. My family and I have seen him about 17 times since. He is one of the most down to earth people I have ever met and treats all of his fans like friends. It’s wonderful knowing the singer is also the songwriter for most of his songs, and when you do see him live, he usually tells you the stories behind the songs, which is so much more rewarding than listening to an artist that just picked a song to sing. I will keep on loving his music regardless of any negative reviews.

  29. I love Bobby with an i. I have called the radio station quite a few times but they say they can’t play it. I give it and Phil an A+A+A+A+

  30. BetsyNo Gravatar

    “Traveling Circus” is finally out! I’ve been listening to it a lot the past two days and I know I’m gonna give it to some people for Christmas, too!

  31. BetsyNo Gravatar

    Hey everyone,

    I just found a contest on Phil’s website, you can enter to win a $500 Visa gift card! There are also $100 gift cards, so make sure you get to widget.philvassar.com!

  32. I love the song bobby with an i.Ithink it was kool because when he came into the bar he was dressed like a women and nobody new that he was actually a man.I also think it was a awsome and hilarious song.