March 10, 2009
What becomes a legend most?
A message to the beautiful children: RuPaul's new album, Champion, contains an incredible, lush electroballad, Never Go Home Again. Seriously, if Robyn or Royksopp had produced this, there would be meltdowns going on over at PopJustice Forums. I need to "edumucate" them asap. Lyrically, Never... is a Smalltown Boy story of escape that's slow burn until some pretty monolithic synths shift it into disco heaven at around 2:20.
Ru became famous in 1992, when I'd graduated from college and had my first place. I loved his house music-infused debut album, especially House Of Love, Back To My Roots and the cover of Chic's Everybody Dance. If you're too young to know those tracks, get them on iTunes or buy a used copy of the CD. I dig his sense of humor (he's a master of facial expressions and voices), his glamour (he is not an old school queen) and the general positivity he puts into pop culture. RuPaul is not a bitchy, demented queen. In fact, I suspect the "two Rus" are more the same personality than is the usual case, where a drag persona allows a shy person to become more gregarious and assertive. For RuPaul, the personality shines through either way, in heels or loafers. I once got into had to kick Someone to the curb who criticized RuPaul. It was like a litmus test: trash Ru and you will sashay... away.
In 2004, he released a substantial "pride" song called Coming Out Of Hiding. The recent Spectrum/Odyssey mix is BEYOND. I have yet to see his 2007 Starbooty film, but I do own an original vinyl LP of the early version of Starbooty from the 80's and am known to recite the "sistah's on the corner sellin' pussy for sale" bit. I apparently have a need to say that a lot. The film has a brilliant orchestral theme called Big Booty Opening (mmm hmmm) tha's the kind of instrumental you need as you march around a big city. Fierce. From the new album, I also recommend Throw Ya Hands Up, a funny track with The Lady Bunny and Destiny Is Mine, another anthemic electro piece.
Trivia: Which beer-drinking legendary post-punk Britrocker does Ru share a soul voice with? Paul Weller! Evidence? Listen to Paul singing Promised Land with Style Council.
In America, Ru's new reality show Drag Race is a big hit. It's like a combination of America's Next Top Model and Project Runway, with Ru channeling both Tyra Banks (Ru says it's the reverse) and Tim Gunn. I loved how he recently said of one drag contestant, "We're looking for the next international superstar and she's more of a ... regional queen." Touche! I keep trying to work that into a statement at work, but it has not come up yet.
Here's a clip for his new single, Cover Girl, with shots from the show:
For the record, my choice for next the next drag superstar is Bebe Zahara Benet.
Remember though, legendary ones: Never Go Home Again from Ru's new Champion album. GET IT. Welcome back Ru.
...and that bitch I kicked to the curb? Turned out to be a big ol' screaming bottom. Just sayin'!