I have a confession. I am now, and have always been, hopelessly obsessed with the quirky, queer band Scissor Sisters. They have put out some of the best music around in recent years and many of their songs find their way into my regular iPod rotation constantly.
But their latest album entitled Night Work is something entirely different. Sure, there are the same clever hooks, the singable melodies, and danceable beats that fans have come to expect. But there is a new dark maturity wrapped in a liberated sense of gender-bending, in-your-face sexuality. The best way to describe this brilliant album?
A dark and sexy queer mind-trip that you can dance to.
Don't mistake dark for "not fun." The album has a joyful abandon, a real sense of freedom in the shake-you-ass parade of what has to be a row of hits coming from the Scissor Sister's latest effort. From the unrelenting electronic pop beat that starts the album in the title track "Night Work" to the instant classic "Fire with Fire" to the dark and sexy "Sex and Violence," the album delves into the dark, messy parts of human emotion.
Sex, love, hate, desire, obsession, anger, and bliss wind their way through the dance beats, making the listener beg for the songs to go on forever. Openly gay lead singer Jake Shears brings his own brand of dirty, brassy sexuality to every lyric he sings, whether belting out a demand to dance or purring seductions into the microphone. Lone female of the group, Ana Matronic, has also never sounded better or sexier, teasing every last drop of sex out of the songs and cheeky wordplay. The band, rounded out by Babydaddy and Del Marquis, is truly in top musical form.
The Scissor Sisters have always pushed the envelope with sexuality in their music, but this album takes that queer sense of sexual liberation and turns up the volume. These songs aren't about conforming or fitting into society, they are about celebrating the messy reality of human relationships in all their forms and the need for a connection, both emotional and physical. They go beyond gay or straight, male or female, and smash every label that society tries to put on emotion and physical attraction. The album is about about the need to connect through whatever means possible.
The brilliant, subversive lyrics that accompany the fun beats truly elevate this album. The beginning of "Fire with Fire," for example, gives a glimpse into that part of human nature that many artists and bands never delve into, the need:
You can see that you're being surrounded every direction?
Love was just something you found to add to your collection...
There really are no lines not crossed in the exploration of sexuality, liberation, emotion, and physical abandon.
The driving, selfish, dark need to be loved push this album beyond just a highly enjoyable listening experience that will play on the dance floors to something more -- something that will hopefully give the Scissor Sisters the recognition in the US that has thus far eluded them.
So brush off your dancing shoes and get ready to sing and shake your way through one of the best albums released in recent years. You'll leave feeling like you just had the best sex of your life: sweaty and fulfilled but wanting more... and obsessed to do it again.
And the Scissor Sister wouldn't have it any other way.
Scissor Sister's "Fire with Fire":