Saturday, 21 May 2011

RuPaul - Glamazon (2011)

Not to sound all Tori Amos, but I've kind of lost my '6:58 spark' of late. As always, I turn to music and some of the songs here on Rupaul's stellar new album Glamazon have really rang true for me in ways I would never have expected. Much on offer here is self-empowering, stylised (I hate the word 'camp' - it needs a rest in 2011, but I'm sure its meaning will settle into less devisive debate soon), authentic, and unequivocally Hi-NRG. What more could one ask for?

Emphatic opener This Is The Beginning is a huge rush of chunky house synths, sparkling bleeps and a killer chorus that dispels any misconception that this is a novelty record quicker than Ru can snatch your wig. It could be recorded by anyone, and I actually mean that as a compliment.

Real emotions ripple to the surface on Responsitrannity, with its gorgeous refrain "on my own, I had to learn it on the radio, oh oh oh", like catching a memory and suddenly realising an element of sadness in relation to the effort some of us had to go to in order to "hear a voice" (hearing new music used to be something of an obsession of mine). It soon recalls Video Killed The Radio Star, with its vocodered headlines "internet, video, television, stereo" which sounds less dated in action. Some might find his play on words here a bit clumsy, but I appreciate his aim to create the voice he had to learn on the radio himself. Celebrating the escapism of music and its ability to give someone a sense of their identity - this song is just so powerful to me, I absolutely love it, but perhaps I am just being sentimental.

Live Forever adopts Livin' Joy style bloops and bleeps, and this really could be an unreleased collaboration with the Livin' Joy and Alex Party producers. The chorus is gigantic and best heard on headphones - it is a mad rampage that would sound amazing and terrifying played loud in a club of varying quality.

The smoother Here It Comes Around Again is my other choice cut: I hold out for the aching delivery Ru gives singing "my head is spinning". One of the simpler cuts, the duds and thuds do all the right things, and finding clubs depressing never sounded so true and yet wonderful.

Music is self-discovery, and so I recommend checking this release out for yourself. Ru's voice is limited, but expressive and fills out the songs with wit, ehophoria, surprising pathos and uplifting spirit. I was really taken aback by how good it felt to play these songs, and to listen to the concientious lyrics, however cliched they might seem at times, from someone who's lived them to every last gasp. Rupaul's dancefloor bender is heroic.


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