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'!


Dan said...

I bought the "Supermodel" CD single back in 1994(ish) which had remixes of "House of Love" on it. I probably like that song better than "Supermodel."

And RuPaul's Christmas album is a holiday favorite around our house. His version of "Santa Baby" is so campy that it (almost) collapses under its own weight.

Have you ever heard of Zombie Prom? RuPaul stars as Miss Strict. I am still pissed that it is no longer downloadable from iTunes. I would love to see it.

Dan said...

Oh, and the song? It proves that while I may flirt with other styles of music, it is in this type that I am truly at home. It is f***ing fantastic.

Brad said...

I've been dying over this album for weeks now. Never Go Home Again is truly AMAZING, as are the sillier numbers.

I'm quite serious...This is a STRONG album!

Michael said...

That is a good tune. Impressive.

Paul said...

i'm quite stunned to say I love it. great write up to - best i've read on Ru for ages. I am off to edumucate myself. You are going to end up costing me more money mister! said...

I am a huge Ru fan. Love her. I am just sad that the show is almost over... I can't wait for season two!!! (and I agree, Bebe FTW! She won me over with that big ass Tina Turner wig!)

DanProject76 said...

I first I just thought "It's T-Pain in a dress" but now I quite like the new Ru track. Hurrah!

countpopula said...

I met RuPaul at a Duran Duran album release party about 15 years ago, and she was absolutely the nicest person there. We even got our pic snapped together--granted, she had to squat due to the 7ft tall/10inch heels/huge hair thing. I must get the album now--it sounds better than anything since the Supermodel days (I always liked Black to my Roots).

Salvador Ali said...

I dig the song as well. Very beautiful.

I'm totally into Drag Race. I wanted Ongina to win, but Bebe is really fierce. She always has the "wow" factor (except for last week's show with the butch girl makeovers).

will said...

Yay! I quite love RuPaul's Drag Race if I might say so myself. My one complaint is that it isn't quite catty enough. Viva La RuPaul!!! :')

Chris Krakora said...

I've been a longtime fan of RuPaul since the "Supermodel" single came out back in 92. I do plan to check out the new album, but I'm waiting for the proper CD to come out next month. But I'll likely download (legally from Amazon of course) those two new tracks you've mentioned to tide me over until then.

I was lucky to see that Starrbooty movie along with a full audience back in the summer of 2007 at the Philadelphia gay Film Festival. I have to say that it's best enjoyed when you see it en masse, its quite wild (though I thought the second half needed to be at a faster pace). I know that Logo is showing the movie late at night, as well as streaming it on, but I assume that it's an edited-for-TV version.

And RuPaul's Drag Race has to be my favoire TV right now! I'm more of a Nina Flowers fan myself. But I'm fine if Bebe wins. And IMHO the show's best moment (so far) was Bebe and Ongina's lip-synch face-off to Britney's "Stronger."