Cher, “Closer To The Truth”
It’s a gay national holiday when Cher puts out new music, and on her first new record in 11 years, this consummate diva knows exactly where her butter is spread: on the dance floor. First and foremost, she is in fantastic voice, and it’s a pretty terrific collection of electropop, Ibiza-inspired club tracks. “Take It Like A Man” is a clear standout for a hit single, and features her patented Autotune vocal effect made famous on “Believe” – plus some blink and you’ll miss him backing vocals from Scissor Sisters’ Jake Shears. I think my favorite song is the slightly odd sounding “I Walk Alone,” because it’s built on the sound of plucky banjos and a honky-tonk beat (and it was written by Pink and features her guest vocals, too). My other impressions are these: “Red” is her soaring nod to Lady Gaga; “Lovers Forever” reminds me of classic Stock, Aiken and Waterman production laced in strings and synth stabs; and “Dressed To Kill” is a sensual but dangerous spaghetti-western inflected sequel to “Bang Bang” (and actually a cover of Samuel Preston of the UK’s Ordinary Boys, also co-written by her producer Mark Taylor). And of course, “Sirens,” “I Hope You Find It” and “Lie To Me” are the requisite power ballads for when you need a breather from all this – Cherness. And follow this, bitches – Cher just announced she’s stomping out of tour retirement to play live again in Spring 2014. Welcome back, Dark Lady!
Men, “Making Art”
Men features JD Samson, my most favorite DIY, fierce, butch lesbian. But JD has revealed herself to be a hit songwriter, and this energetic electro stomper tells the story of the importance of collaborating with friends and leaving the damn house to get your art seen (and heard). Between this and the excellent disc from Kathleen Hanna’s The Julie Ruin, Le Tigre fans must be doing cartwheels. Look for Men’s full-length Labor disc October 22.
Arcade Fire, “Reflektor” (Dustbuster remix)
The buzzworthy indie band’s latest gets some serious disco-glitter treatment via Dustbuster. The vibe and hushed emotion of the original is kept intact, while upping the tempo slightly and just enough beats for maximum dance floor spins.
Sample Gee, “Royals Symphony” (Lorde vs. The Verve)
She has the #1 song on iTunes and the #3 song on the Hot 100 right now (just behind Katy and Miley) — and she hasn’t yet graduated from high school. Yes, New Zealand’s Lorde has charmed everyone the past few months with her ode to excess, and this lovely blend reminds us how much we miss the Verve.
SOUND AND VISION:
Chase & Status ft. Moko, “Count On Me”
If you don’t feel the ’90s house revival going on, you need to get out of the, ahem, house more often. There’s something about those bold, old school piano chords and rave-worthy beats that seem to be missing from dance music these days. Enter London’s Chase & Status, who are here to remedy that — complete with major drug use captured on film and Moko’s fierce ruling diva vocals.
DJ Paul V. has been offering up his alternative/electro beats on dance floors since 1982, most notably at LA’s Dragstrip 66. He’s also an accomplished blogger and author of Born This Way: Real Stories of Growing Up Gay