2004: RuCo 001-2
Hmm! I got this because I happened to read a favorable review of it while I was enjoying Rus Supermodel of the World for the hundredth time, and on the first few listens I find its a surprising mix of styles and qualities. Most of its very good, some of its top-notch RuPaul entertainment, and some of it is as alien to me as the stuff its 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). Theres 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 BellevilleI 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 thats bad! Really its 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 its not accurate to describe this as a return to form because really its a resumption of a journey with no fixed destination or itineraries (the best kind). In that sense, among others, its fabulous.
Comments © 2005 Mark Ellis Walker, except as noted, and no claim is made to the images and quoted lyrics.