2004: RuCo 001-2

  1. Shirley Q Liquor & Watusi Jenkins
  2. Looking Good, Feeling Gorgeous
  3. Coming Out of Hiding
  4. Shirley Q Intro
  5. Are You Man Enough?
    Orange Wig Skit
  6. Kinky/Freaky
  7. Love Is Love
  8. Just a Little In & Out
  9. Workout
    Betta Work Skit
  10. The Price of One
  11. I Need More
  12. People Are People [w/Tom Trujillo]
    Sheepy Skit
  13. My Love Sees No Color
  14. Hollywood USA
  15. Give It One More Try
  16. Superman

Hmm! I got this because I happened to read a favorable review of it while I was enjoying Ru’s Supermodel of the World for the hundredth time, and on the first few listens I find it’s a surprising mix of styles and qualities. Most of it’s very good, some of it’s top-notch RuPaul entertainment, and some of it is as alien to me as the stuff it’s mimicking/mocking (the current crop of interchangeably formulaic hip-hop/“Soul” female singers).

But there are certainly surprises here! “Love Is Love” and “I Need More” for example have some truly unexpected chord-structure modulations that command attention and would clearly be adrenaline-bumps on the dancefloor (and other tracks have these to a lesser degree). There’s also lots of affirmation-themed lyrics side-by-side with the just-about-filthy “Kinky/Freaky” as well as large helpings of “I am surviving this rollercoaster life” (most clearly stated on “Coming Out of Hiding”), and that combination makes for a truly bizarre menu. (And the line about the film The Crying Game in “Kinky/Freaky” is excellently sly, I barked a laugh despite myself.)

“Looking Good, Feeling Gorgeous” is quite nice, full of classic runway-model RuPaul attitude, but I must say it strikes me as having a *most* unlikely pair of musical influences present: Deee-Lite (not unlikely on its own, just in conjunction with the other) and The Triplets of Belleville—I mean, that chorus has me picturing -M-’s video for “Belleville Rendezvous” but with a cartoon RuPaul (is that a redundancy?) in place of Mr Balrog Hair. Not that any of that’s bad! Really it’s just the image of the backup chorus here unnervingly juxtaposing the old ladies under the bridge with Mean Miss Charles doin’ her strut that (pleasantly) rattles me.

The other thing I wanted to mention about this album, besides the fact that it was a pleasant surprise (although the cover image where Ru looks like Donna Summer after a porn workout), is that it is a positive delight to hear RuRu singing again *and* so well (no question of fading vocal abilities here, ladyfriend is still delivering everything from wails to veils). In her case it’s not accurate to describe this as a “return to form” because really it’s a resumption of a journey with no fixed destination or itineraries (the best kind). In that sense, among others, it’s fabulous.