Skip to main content
Loading...

Jake Shears - Jake Shears Music Album Reviews

The Scissor Sisters frontman’s solo debut could’ve been a disaster: A pop star moseys down to New Orleans to find “real music.” But if you’re not a stickler for authenticity, it’s actually irresistible.

In his existential 1963 novel City of Night, which follows a male sex worker hustling his way across America after dark, John Rechy maps out the four waves of revelers drawn to New Orleans for Mardi Gras: First come the hustlers and their “lean young faces… with maybe guitars and patched bags if any,” hitchhiking or via Greyhound. Next, the “restless queens” who don drag to “challenge—and, Maybe, for an instant, be acknowledged by—the despising, arrogant, apathetic world that produced them and exiled them.” After them, the deluge of “tired richmen, the tired richwomen… and the other Young men and women—equally curious but not as defiant.” Finally, there are the inevitable “busloads of carefully chartered tours” in a “determined pilgrimage to Frantic Happiness.”

Similar waves crashed over postmillennial Brooklyn. The sedimentary layers of modern gentrification, after all, tend to go: artists and queer people, then tastemakers, then tourists. Jake Shears and his fellow Scissor Sisters arrived in the borough during the first phase and came up through its electroclash scene but quickly changed costumes, sewing the sincere glam of Peter Allen and the sleaze of the Skatt Bros into electro-disco confections both tacky and catchy. “Frantic happiness” turns out to be an apt description of what they had to offer, and their audience grew in waves much like Rechy’s—particularly in Europe, where they were for a moment the brightest stars in the firmament. Americans, at least those who didn’t live in the night cities, mostly resisted their charms. They were simply too much.

City of Night ends with a spectacular psychological breakdown, and to hear Shears tell it in Boys Keep Swinging, his recent memoir, so did Scissor Sisters. He moved to New Orleans to write that book and this debut solo album. Jake Shears could have been an insufferable disaster: A pop star cleans up and moseys on down to New Orleans to find real music, man, and, in its appropriated authenticity, himself. It could have been a hodgepodge of Lestat and “Treme,” a “New Orleans state of mind” groaner, a “problematic” post-Lemonade whitewash. It could have been more flotsam dredged up by the dispiriting (and gentrification-adjacent) wave of pop stars gone rootsy—Timberlake’s woods, Kanye’s frontier, the rural dives of Lady Gaga’s Joanne.

Instead, Jake Shears is a breeze, with members of My Morning Jacket and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band gathering to lay down the tracks in single takes. The result is pretty irresistible, as long as you’re not looking for authenticity, and if you don’t mind vocals that sound like a honky-tonk take on jazz hands deployed in the service of lyrics like “Cuz baby I love you/More than the trash can.” (And that’s a rave, not a read; for Shears, nothing succeeds like excess.) He sells the hell out of “S.O.B.” and “Clothes Off,” tracks that could be cleverer as they shimmy in the shadows of Bourbon Street, rather than on the throbbing floor of the Mineshaft, but mostly do the trick. In the grim but game “Creep City,” he shakes it Chaka-style during verses that descend like “Tell Me Something Good,” if the only good news on offer were that death and its marching band will come for us all someday. “The Bruiser” is a leering “Nightclubbing” manqué that sounds unconvincingly masc, which might be the point; speaking of butch identity, the dude in “Big Bushy Mustache” sure would like to embrace his, if only his girlfriend would let him. Something tells me his desire for “a silky carpet with the drapes to match” and a “neon pink Mustang” might be queering the deal.

Tracks like “Good Friends” carry on Scissor Sisters’ inimitable legacy of imaginary love themes to Muppet movies in which Kermit falls for Fozzie. Three ballads are among the best Shears has ever made: “Everything I’ll Ever Need” is a banjo-and-Bee Gees showstopper. “All for What” glows with a backwoods glamor, like Roxy Music using slide guitars in place of synths. And “Palace in the Sky” is so City of Night that if revelers don’t end up humming it while their coke-ruined noses drip blood into strangers’ bathroom sinks, I’ll eat Shears’ feather boa.

It’s true, Jake Shears is performative. It might veer into appropriation here and there, particularly in its closer, “Mississippi Delta (I’m Your Man).” But faux isn’t always false. After calling New Orleans almost everything else, Rechy praised the city as a “Pied Piper playing a multikeyed tune to varikeyed ears.” Generations later, it’s a hell of a good time hearing Shears sing along.

View the original article here

Comments

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Loading...

Popular posts from this blog

2019 BMW i8 Review

The 2019 BMW i8 is a head-turner for its looks, which hides its plug-in powertrain. That’s good or bad, depending on your priorities.Even among six-figure cars with two doors, the 2019 BMW i8 steals stares. That could be because of the dramatic wing doors and futuristic shape, its laser headlights at night, or the 2019 i8’s silent propulsion for up to 18 miles.
Or it may steal attention because, even after more than four years on sale, it’s a very rare sight.

LG G5 Review In-Depth

Can LG take on the Galaxy S7 with a metal design, dual-cameras and an accessory slot? Here's our first LG G5 review, focusing on LG G5 design and build, LG G5 specs, LG G5 cameras and LG G5 software and apps.
Alongside the Galaxy S7, the LG G5 is one of the biggest phones (not literally) to launch in 2016 – and we're not just talking in the Android world. It's one of the heavyweights and LG will be looking to set the market alight with the G5's alternative and innovative modular design.

BlackBerry KEYone Review

BlackBerry soliders on with a curious Android device that gets nearly everything right. It’s not for everyone though, in fact, it’s not really for anyone. But if you want a physical keyboard you will absolutely love it.
Should I Buy The BlackBerry KEYone?
But then, the KEYone is the best BlackBerry phone for years. It has (finally) successfully melded classic BlackBerry design with the necessary mix of Android and nostalgia. Importantly, the latter is only faint this time – this is a device for 2017, not 2007.If you love your iPhone or Samsung, you’ll hate the KEYone and won’t even consider buying it. But if you’ve made it to the end of this review, chances are you’re weighing up a buy. If you think you’ll love the BlackBerry KEYone, then I’m pretty certain you won’t be disappointed. You’re part of a minority, but finally BlackBerry has a phone for you that doesn’t force you to compromise.

Xiaomi Mi A2 Review: Xiaomi Meets Android One

Users outside China and India aren't especially familiar with MIUI, but when you combine Xiaomi hardware with Android One the results are quite something. Check out our Mi A2 review for full details on this impressive budget smartphone.
Should I Buy The Xiaomi Mi A2?
The inclusion of Android One makes Xiaomi phones so much more easily accessible to UK- and US users - and that's a very good thing, finally allowing those outside its main market territories a taste of what else is out there. The Mi A2 merely whets our appetite for what's coming our way when Xiaomi officially launches in the UK on 8 November.A fantastic budget phone, the Mi A2 is just £199 and easily obtainable from Amazon. It combines decent build quality with a nice display, good all-round performance and a well-specced trio of cameras. It out-specs and out-performs every other phone in our budget smartphone chart.

Apple iPhone XR Review

If you aren't sure you are ready to leave the Home button behind and embrace Face ID, think again. We'll tell you why the iPhone XR is worth the sacrifice - especially because it's just as good (if not better than) the iPhone XS. Find out more in out full review.
Should I Buy The Apple iPhone XR?
The iPhone XR brings Face ID to the masses. We’re sure people will continue to rebel against the lack of Home button, but eventually we expect them to come round and embrace the larger screen, Portrait mode (front and back), animoji and memoji.We have no doubt that this will be a popular iPhone and it deserves to be. The only question is why would anyone buy an iPhone XS when the iPhone XR is just as powerful and has a bigger screen.

Like Fan Page