Music Reviews

Music Review: Dancing Queen Musts

Champion
RuPaul
RuCo Inc.

rupaulchampion-1Never underestimate a drag queen and her disco.

At almost fifty (just how old is that in drag years, anyway?) RuRu proves she’s still ready to dance with Champion, a fabulous collection of stomping, hands-in-the-air dance gems. No purple leotards, no disco sticks…just a microphone and a weave-ful of fierce.

As one might expect, RuPaul dominates with tracks crafted specially for the dance floor, including “Jealous Of My Boogie” and “LadyBoy.” Sure, there’s plenty of silly on the surface, but underneath is an equally addictive series of bass lines and squeaky synth hooks.

Yet despite commanding a capable voice, Ru indulges in a fair share of the AutoTune technique that has become so popular with the kids these days. Lest we forget, it was the original Drag Queen herself, Cher, who did the damn thing first with “Believe” back in ’98, so why shouldn’t the queens take back their warbling robo-sounds?

It’s always refreshing to hear something other than a “booty on the floor” number, which is why tracks like “Champion” and “Destiny Is Mine” especially soar: A little positive energy and some extra motivation–now that’s something worth celebrating.

The same goes for “Never Go Home Again.” Starting off as a melodramatic torch tale of breaking free from bad situations, Ru soars higher and higher above ripples of moody disco that throbs only a hair below the production level of Madge’s Confessions On A Dance Floor until bursting into euphoria: “Babies take flight, never say never / There’s a home for you here where love is unconditional.”

Honestly, by the time “Tranny Chaser” comes around with its infectious snaps, claps, and tongue-in-chic silliness (“May the fierce be with you!”), it’s clear that Ru’s already shut down the game. Oh, and since you’re wondering: Yeah, the song is as good as the title implies.


Yes

Pet Shop Boys
EMI

yespetshopboysIt’s never a good idea to judge an album by its title. In the case of Yes, the Pet Shop Boys’ first studio release in three years, it’s safe to make an exception.

With the help of the masterful UK beat-crafting crew, Xenomania (Girls Aloud, Sugababes), Tennant and Lowe have managed to mold their penchant for blaring synths, tongue-in-cheek lyrical sophistication, and unapologetically pop hooks into a 21st century framework of sound.

Some of the more synth-soaked numbers such as the skittering “Pandemonium” (a re-tooling of a track originally meant for Kylie Minogue’s X) and “More Than A Dream” conjure vivid ‘80’s dance floor nostalgia, while “The Way It Used To Be” and the Erotica-lite lull of “King Of Rome” offer passing nods to early ‘90’s house.

Even if the musical territory’s never been tread before, this is the Pet Shop Boys at their most classic since Behaviour.

Yes, they did.

The Grand
Kaskade
Ultra

41ixxs3o2hl_ss500_With his latest album, The Grand, Kaskade has taken to the task of creating a killer playlist for the dance floor.

To do so, the DJ has enlisted a wealth of clever club cuts and dance floor re-rubs from many artists, including Pnau, Mischa Daniels, and Tommy Trash, and including favorite tracks from his last effort Strobelite Seduction including “Move For Me,” “Step One Two,” and “Angel On My Shoulder.”

It’s as moody and engaging a set as Kaskade could be expected to craft; a brilliant compromise of breathy, aerial vocals and chilly beats that swell between moments of euphoria to crippling depression. Don’t believe me? If the Plumb track, “In My Arms,” doesn’t have you crying at the discotheque, you’ve been reading the wrong review.

This is true, heaven-sent trance at its finest, and you’d be an absolute fool not to invest in this grand affair.

Aside from being a full fledged star, Bradley Stern is an up-and-coming young sprout who enjoys chocolate teddy grahams, organizing his Britney Spears singles in reverse chronological order, and musing about music on his pop music blog, MuuMuse.