RuPaul’s Bevy of Drag Racers Release Musical Mixed Bags
Debuting soon with its Seventh Season is the Ultra-Fabulous RuPaul’s “Drag Race.” Undoubtedly, the new season will be way over the top and filled with cheesy drama, deliberate conflicts, and shameless product placement. However, I find it very entertaining as it seems to make fun of itself and still comes across as genuine. Aside from all the glitz and glamor, many of these “ladyboys” are singing their little hearts out on Internet Downloads, CDs, and YouTube. None have broken through to mainstream on the scales of MamaRu, but it’s just a matter of time. Here is sample of some noteworthy “dragalicious” sounds that are awaiting discovery. Also for the first time I’m giving each artist a rating in the scale of one to five in Cha Cha Heels. If you are a connoisseur of “Drag” history then you’ll know where the Cha Cha Heels connection comes from.
JINKX MONSOON – THE INEVITABLE ALBUM – SIDECAR MUSIC
Now this collection is a cute little tribute to the days of Vaudeville with most of the background music fittingly provided by an old time piano. Somehow Jinkxy (Jerick Hoffer) managed to get a endearing guest appearance by Fred Schneider of the B-52’s on the opening act and the uproarious song Bacon Shake. Aside from the celebrity draw, Monsoon is right on the mark vocally and you can sense the mischievousness on all the tracks. The only song that is out of place in the line up is a remake of Radiohead’s “Creep.” The interpretation itself isn’t horrible, actually in contrast it’s delightful. The song just doesn’t flow with the rest of the numbers and breaks the flow of the time warp the set places you in. It would have been better included at the end as a bonus track or transformed into the same style as the other tracks. If you’re a fan of ballsy Broadway tunes with so much tongue in cheek that leaves no room for a face, snatch this all out bash from the “Drag Race” season five winner right up. Rating: 5 Cha Cha Heels.
WILLAM – THE WRECKONING – WILLAM MUSIC
From “Drag Race’s” fourth season, Willam (Willam Belli) has been the only contestant eliminated from the contest and gained shameful popularity for that event. Willam is my least favorite in this list because as a drag queen I feel he is weak. A good drag queen gives the illusion of a female, sometimes with exaggerations. Sadly, in Willam’s case his facial structure is just too manly, even though from the neck down he nails it. This is probably why he has landed acting roles where gender is in question as the mainstream can only handle so much of the illusion. “The Wreckoning” features many of his download singles with his partners in crime Detox and Vicky Vox (the now disbanded DWV) and other drag guests. I’ve included Willam here because musically he is the Weird “Alice” Yankovic of the bunch. His songs are extremely nasty and devilishly clever. The bulk of his songs are parodies and the accompanying videos are quite amusing. “The Wrecking” is available on his website, but I recommend watching the videos rather than only listening . Rating: 2 Cha Cha Heels.
ADORE DELANO – TILL DEATH DO US PARTY – SIDECAR MUSIC
Adore’s debut is a probing mix of Electro-Punkish-Dance-Rock and astonishingly very well-polished. Welcome to the arena a new Glam Goddess. Delano (Danny Noriega) was first on our TV screens as a contestant on the seventh season of “American Idol” minus his drag collective and made it to the top 13, one year before Adam Lambert sissy’d his walk to success on that venue. “Drag Race” allowed Delano to further explore his creativity and more than Idol could tolerate. “Till Death Do Us Party” is the perfect title for this project as it was one of his catch phrases and describes the bulk of the tracks. I was immediately fan struck with the magnetic opener “Speak My Sex” and have grown utterly addicted to the “Party” song. If this was a standard release by an unknown “safe” artist and marketed to pop outlets it would soar to the top of the charts as it really is that good. Actually if some of these songs were put out by the likes of Katy Perry or Ke$ha they would be instant hits. The release did gather attention as it quietly debuted at #59 on the Billboard Album Chart. This is a grand showing and proves that the music buying public want more than what they will find on the Walmart or Best Buy corporate controlled racks. My only dislike is that his drag persona is virtually lost in the effort and the use of profanity seems placed. Sadly in Adores’ case, it comes off as plainly immature. On “Drag Race” season six, Adore seemed very bratty by dropping the “F” Bomb, which seemed like almost every time he was on camera. With all his flaws compared to the other more seasoned queens, he came across as a hot mess with potential and early on he was a judges favorite. He is as captivating as a perky young Molly Ringwald. The “Party” song is a winner in my book and you can check out the amusing accompanying video on YouTube. Rating: 4 Cha Cha Heels.
COURTNEY ACT – WELCOME TO DISGRACELAND – COURTNEY ACT MUSIC
All I have to say is that this glittering star is waiting to explode all over the nation and I wish someone in the business would snatch Courtney up and market the crap out of him. Courtney Act (Shane Jenek) is like a dose of Britney Spears with a splash of Madonna, topped with coating of Olivia Newton John circa 1985. In my opinion, this is the only contestant that has appeared on Drag Race that could reach cross-appeal on the level of RuPaul. Courtney also was a contestant on “Australian Idol” way back in 2003, made it to the semi-finals performing in drag and in 2004 released a single “Rub Me Down,” which did not make the US Charts. There is no album yet from Courtney, but there is web product if you search well enough. I have found a YouTube video for the song “To Russia With Love.” that I just can’t get enough of. I think I’m respoinsible for at least 300 of the mentioned views. The video alone prompted me to spend hours looking for more Courtney Act music. There are downloads available for “Mean Gays,” a fun-little romp and three collaborations with other contestants; “Downton Abby Snore,” “American Apparel Ad Girls,” and “Dear Santa Bring Me A Man,” a remake of the Weather Girls holiday hit from 1983. There also is a remix CD single for the track “Welcome To Disgraceland,” from 2010, which is not easily found. I can barely wait for a full album from this artist. Rating: 5 Cha Cha Heels
MANILA LUZON – ETERNAL QUEEN – LOMLPLEX MUSIC
Runner up from “Drag Race’s” third season Manila Luzon (Karl Westerberg) is a flawless fishy queen whose confidence and talent grew during the show achieving many positive comments from judges and earned a place on RuPaul’s spin off show Drag U. “The Eternal Queen” album is very much like the later RuPaul CDs with an ample supply of short and sweet dance tracks but nothing really stands out for me. Unfortunately nothing on it compares with several of the web singles that appeared prior to its release and left off of the debut. I found this odd and assume there must have been a legal reason behind it. The best of the early tracks was his first, the catchy and hook filled “Hot Couture” from 2011. Rating: 2 Cha Cha Heels.
SHARON NEEDLES – PG 13 – SHARON NEEDLES MUSIC
On “Drag Race’s” fourth season, Sharon Needles (Aaron Coady) was the ghastly spooky queen who could only be rivaled by Marilyn Manson for theater effects. It seemed odd at first, but in each episode you were drawn in to see what he would wear next and be amazed at the level of his creativity. Because of this dynamic, I was a little let down by his debut “PG-13.” Filled to the rim with Club Music it is a great addition to any “Halloween Party,” but outside of October it’s just out of place. Creepy and Scary certainly fit the bill with Needles’ image and lead him to grasp the “Drag Race” crown, but it should have been used “in addition to” rather than encompass the whole project to achieve longevity. Rating: 3 Cha Cha Heels.
VARIOUS ARTISTS – RUPAUL PRESENTS THE COVERGURLS – WORLD OF WONDER MUSIC
This is the companion album to season six of “Drag Race” and it’s filled with reinventions of RuPaul songs featuring all of the contestants from that season whether they have pipes or not. It’s a playful example of how far we’ve come with “in the studio” magic. It’s a cute novelty and if you’re a die hard fan it’s a must have, but of course the O”ru”ginals are the better of the bunch. Rating: 2 Cha Cha Heels.
RUPAUL – BORN NAKED – RUCO MUSIC
Yes I do proudly own the RuPaul music collection and I have to say “Born Naked,” is his most diverse collection thus far and is responsible for Ru’s first time busting into the Billboard Hot 100 Albums Chart. Ru hasn’t cracked the Billboard Hot Album Chart since 1993 when “Supermodel of the World” made it to #109. It was a breakthrough at that time on so many levels. It will never be duplicated or surpassed and it’s become a standard piece of pop culture “herstory.” So what’s a gurl to do? Just what RuPaul is doing. He is the finest at his craft and releasing new music with a touch of exploration. On “Born Naked” you will find carefree dance numbers, Rhythm & Blues, Electro Funk, and for the first time a sound close to new wave rock with “Geronimo” and “Born Naked.” As an added treat Club Icon Martha Wash is featured on “Can I Get An Amen” and gal-pal Michelle Visage on the anthem “Let The Music Play.” Rating: 4 Cha Cha Heels.