If one is looking for one of the most bizarre but also enjoyable perfect winter storms regarding music history, one would be hard pressed to come up with an example like that of Hoku’s rise to popularity in early 2000. The daughter of famed Hawaiian entertainer Tommy Ho and someone with a decidedly unconventional childhood of both privilege and discomfort given Ho’s philandering ways and complicated living arrangements, Hoku rose to popularity on the back of the hit success of the song “Another Dumb Blonde” from the film Snow Day, which became a fluke top 40 and a top 10 sales hit and even charted outside of the United States. The song itself was a bubblegum teen pop masterpiece, and I happen to love that sort of music myself, for better or worse. Unfortunately for fans, Hoku’s career only lasted one great self-titled teen pop album (featuring such standout tracks as the minor hit “How Do I Feel (The Burrito Song)” and the gospel-tinged album standout “Nothing In This World”) and one additional single, the minor hit “Perfect Day” from the soundtrack to Legally Blonde, before conflicts over the singer’s image led her to depart from the label, and she is raising a family now with her husband, her manager with whom she eloped in 1999 while very young over concerns about her youth and her father’s disapproval of her taste in previous boyfriends . By all accounts, she is doing well in her life and has little regrets about being a one-hit wonder .
The song “Another Dumb Blonde” came out of left field to be a hit in part because it was a single to the soundtrack to a largely forgotten movie, namely Snow Day. I have not seen the movie, except from what I understand it involves a dramatic snow day where kids get off of school and get involved in various mischief as kids are wont to do. The music video, as music videos from soundtracks tend to do, features clips from the movie, interspersed with at least two other elements. One of those consists of Hoku and some backup dancers dancing in either snowy backgrounds (to tie in with the movie) or beach backgrounds (to relate to the singer’s background as a sunny native Hawaiian). Both of these layers would be pretty standard for a music video, but Hoku adds to it by including a third layer that connects to the lyrics of the song by showing what amounts to a break-up e-mail video showing the jilted Hoku having innocent fun with a new guy after her previous beau had shown himself to be unfaithful. For a disposable teen pop fluke hit, this song has a lot of layers, and Hoku’s family background and her Pentecostal faith combine with the concerns of her song and its context as a film soundtrack song to create an immensely complicated viewing experience. Songs like these are not often viewed as being as deeply layered as they are.
The song itself is worthy of mention for at least one other reason as well. The lyrics of the song feature a doomed relationship where someone tries to use some pickup lines on Hoku, only she is savvy enough (in other words, not a dumb blonde) to pay attention to the same person using the same pickup lines on someone else the next night. The theme is a very common one in music from young women, suggesting there are a lot of very foolish young men out there who think the thrill of the chase is more exciting than the enjoyment of getting to know the depth and layers of someone and always finding something odd and interesting through the process. At any rate, “Another Dumb Blonde” is a song from a singer worthy of a great deal of respect. It is a feel-good song from an artist whose lifestyle I can actually respect and appreciate, and whose success is something worth feeling good about.
So, why would I make reference to this song now? Well, as it happens, this week has seen one of the periodic claims of Snowmaggedon for the Portland, Oregon area , and though the flurries so far have been limited to attractive snow globe scenes as I write this, there have been issues with phones and e-mail and plenty of people called out to work because they were single parents whose children were out of school or because they were afraid of the coming storm because of fears about being able to drive safely. Of course, I should know better than to mock the snow, because the snowfall got a lot heavier as I wrote this. How to know it’s a bad snow day? I was thanked for showing up to work today, and now I don’t know if I will have to dig out my car when I’m done. Oh well. At least I’ll have some good music to listen to on this snow day. It could be a lot worse.
 See, for example:
 See, for example: