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Scissor Sisters – Scissor Sisters (2004)

February 13, 2013

[Album 146/1001]220px-Scissoralbum

Wow, this one is something else.

Over the span of the first four tracks, I was hooked, then repelled, then won over, then appalled, only to be brought right back.

As infuriating as it is addictive, this is to be avoided if you’re not interested in an emotional rollercoaster.

When they’re good (the piano riff on Laura, the acoustic guitar/low register vocals on Take Your Mama, the song Mary), Scissor Sisters is/are great.

At other times, they’re close: Filthy/Gorgeous is beyond catchy but borders on novelty, considering today wouldn’t sound out of place on a Flight of the Conchords record.  Return to Oz wraps up the album effectively.

And then…

If there’s a sound that is the equivalent of styrofoam rubbed together/nails on the chalkboard, for me it’s the disco-era Bee Gees vocals.*

Now timely falsetto (à la Coldplay, Mika) is one thing.  The well placed early-Weezer-Matt Sharp backup falsetto vocals are wonderful.

Unfortunately, Sustained Bee Gees/the prolonged Scissor Sisters-falsetto here = painful.

For some listeners, that won’t be the worst of it.  I’m a believer that no song is sacred enough to be ‘uncoverable.’  I also applaud artists that go for a fresh take, as opposed to an updated carbon copy.  I’m not a Floyd purist by any stretch, but this version of Comfortably Numb should be approached with caution.

Overall, I suppose kudos are in order though for not being a ‘safe’ record & for certainly being a ‘take-notice’ debut.

*I do however appreciate that the beat of Stayin’ Alive is the appropriate pace for performing lifesaving chest compressions (and is a much less macabre choice than similarly-rhythmic Another One Bites the Dust).

From → 2000s

  1. The Boy permalink

    Agreed on all counts…there’s so much catchiness on this album, I’ve always wanted to like the whole thing more, but those nails-on-chalkboard moments really make it impossible! “Take Your Mama” is pretty awesome though. I think the music video might involve some muppet-esque puppets?
    My only counterargument is with regard to the Bee Gees – not only did they famously “write songs that everybody liked”, but actually their vocals from that era are surprisingly pleasant in ballad form, ie. “How Deep is Your Love”. Great tune!

  2. Some early Bee Gees recordings appear in the 1001 list – I will certainly borrow the Wayne’s World quote at that point (and may even use it in a future led zeppelin review)!

    I will re-explore the Brothers Gibb – I don’t completely understand why I fully endorse Pet Sounds falsetto but haven’t warmed to the Bee Gees. As Hol would say, maybe when I’m older!

  3. If we’re wandering into Bee Gees territory I can I heartily recommend Trafalgar….brilliant album, one or two naff tracks but overall excellent. And it was recorded before Barry decided the higher he sang the better.

  4. Good to know – Trafalgar & Odessa are both on the 1001 list, I’m hoping I’ll be converted!

  5. I almost forgot how beautiful that album art is. Great album start to finish – I used to listen to “Land of a Thousand Words” in cabs on my way to work in the morning. Always got me in a great mood to start the day, and “I Don’t Feel Like Dancing” was the Go-To party song for everything that year I feel. Great shout out. Brings back lots of memories…Thanks!


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