Should Have Been Bigger: Lindsay Lohan’s Rebellious “Rumors”
In this franchise, we look back on songs that deserved a little more love and attention.
By 2004 Lindsay Lohan had already conquered the acting world. And she must have been bored. Because after the breakaway success of films like Parent Trap, Freaky Friday and Mean Girls (all classics) the Teen Queen decided it was time for a bigger challenge. What was that? Taking over the music scene. Of course, several of her acting roles contained musical elements. For instance, Freaky Friday’s “Ultimate” is a serotonin-raising bop of the highest caliber. However, she wanted her official debut single to make a statement. As it turns out, she had the perfect song in mind: “Rumors.”
On it the budding pop star illustrates the challenge of growing up in the public eye. More specifically, this is about her desire to spend a night turning up in the club without a slew of negative headlines the following morning. “I’ve gotta say respectfully, I would like it if you’d take the cameras off of me. ‘Cause I just want a little room to breathe,” she pleads over supersized production courtesy of Cory Rooney and Peter Wade Keusch. The chorus is less polite. “I’m tired of rumors starting. I’m sick of being followed. I’m tired of people lying, saying what they want about me.”
She takes a more rebellious stance at the song’s close. “I’m gonna do it my way. Take this for just what it is,” Lindsay warns. Toss in an equally edgy video that comes complete with a dance break and a helicopter escape, and you’ve got the formula for a perfect coming-of-age anthem aimed at a new generation of grown-up Disney fans. Given her popularity at the time, you’d think “Rumors” would have soared up the Billboard Hot 100. Shockingly, that’s not what happened. As is often the case with these things, we lacked the taste to recognize a cult classic at the time.
Instead, the song topped out within the Top 10 on Billboard’s Bubbling Under chart. That’s an unforgivable offense as far as I’m concerned. It performed just as poorly in the UK. Thankfully, the raspy-voiced siren had better luck in other markets. Australians had the foresight to send “Rumors” into the Top 10. That set the scene for a warmer welcome when Lindsay dropped her debut album Speak later in the year. Since then the “Xanax” siren has treated us to several other solid-gold bops with more (allegedly) on the way.
But “Rumors” remains one of her all-time best. Revisit it below for a glimpse at the sometimes Pop Queen at the very start of her career.