Going back well over twenty years, Eddie Izzard, as a highly regarded stand-up comedian, was at the forefront of pushing boundaries, with his eccentric and often provocative cross-dressing persona, but even so, back then, he was able to use that to laugh at both himself and the topic itself, as it was still a subject or, an idea reduced to cheap laughs, or frowned upon by certain non-liberals.
Nowadays, in 2022, while the world still has its detractors, the idea of simply cross-dressing, is far, far more commonplace and accepted in a far more woke generation. While some people argue certain agendas, push their own sense of toxic masculinity, misunderstanding, prejudice and display close-minded tendencies, LGTBQ+ culture is flourishing, wherever you find yourself along the rainbow. If anything reinforces this, it’s the booming popularity of RUPAUL.
The drag race phenomenon has grown, and grown, and grown Stateside, in that same time-frame. Bigger, brighter, bolder on mainstream streaming networks, and culturally in society...but what I DIDN’T know...was that RuPaul released music. The question is, am I afraid to absolutely slate this music, purely FOR the music that it is, knowing that certain people are going think that I’m criticizing the community, NOT the music? Am I fuck...this is “Mamaru”...pass the Jack Daniels...
The album opens up with “Just What They Want”, and when I say this is arguably as good as this gets, don’t take that as a positive. This is in fact not what I want at all. I know RuPaul is a coloured 61-year-old gentleman, but I have to make that white-rapper analogy. EMINEM joked about white boys thinking they could rap, following his popularity (He earned that through legitimate eloquent skill may I add), but most of us sound clueless, off-beat, and cringeworthy with our rhymes and flows...this sound’s nearly as bad as your local council estate rap wannabe. Cool fam’ you wear Nike Air’s off of the back of a lorry and your mum shops at a food bank? Sit down you clown. Get the idea? There are subtle BRITNEY SPEARS nods to “Work Bitch” but this is SO early 90’s it’s unreal...the general dance-inspired R’n’B beats give this sleazy strip club vibes, or at BEST Kooler’s nights in Merthyr Tydfil. Wipe your feet on the way out like...
We’ve got a collab then courtesy of SKELTAL KI on the track “Catwalk” and this is frankly less offensive to your sense of hearing. The whole thing has been slowed down in tone and tempo, allowing for a more sultry, semi-soulful piece of slow-jam R’n’B, while the autotune-rich rich vocals accompany the synth-heavy instrumentation, and it’s far, far smoother in production. There is a reprise of this track further down the playlist but, like an actual cat, my interest is long-gone by this point, got more important things to do like, nap, and judge everything around me.
Speaking of judging things, we have the track “Smile”...and oh god...this is more grimace than anything else. Ironically the message here is one incredibly positive one, “Fix your face, fix your life you can start with a smile”...small steps to a more, happier, wholesome existence...clearly, they haven’t heard this song. The electronic pop is intertwined with hip-hop beats and the autotune by this point is sickly...it’s like, fucking SEGA produced the track truth be told...Chronic the Hedgehog if you will. This then, is something the album wrestles with over Its 10-track run time.
The whole thing from a production standpoint, is boisterous, loud and brash. While there are genres that CAN get away with it, such as say, aggressive punk, for example, where it’s meant to be challenging, make you think, make you question...this is just an absolute clusterfuck. The layering and instrumentation is headache-inducing, and over the course of its half an hour run-time, despite whatever positive messages or, inspirational content Ru is channelling through this creative outlet, however much of an icon he is to a demographic, or target audience, musically, on make-up smothered face-value, this is messier than a bin-full of post catwalk wet-wipes. Forget drag Queen...this album was dragged through a hedge backwards.