It's been a while now that I have been paying attention to the Scissor Sisters. My first encounter with them was at the gym: their second big hit, Laura, was a hit with the Gold's Entertainment Channel, and I would listen to it while running on the treadmill.
My first impression was not favorable: I hated the song's hammering rhythm, and found the video silly. Additionally, I didn't get the Scissors part of the equation and found the frequent references to haircutting silly and thought the whole thing was a one "hit" wonder.
Oh, how wrong I was…
After a while, I started realizing I was looking forward to the video. The hammering rhythm started sounding more and more like a basso continuo, and eventually I figured out that SS had actually had another hit, the dreadful Filthy/Gorgeous.
Now, if I didn't like the first one, and so-so liked the second one, what made me curious about the group in the first place? Well, it was the fact that the two songs didn't sound alike at all. It was as if this newcomer band had the songwriting resources of a Madonna at hand – you usually get a bunch of songs that all sound vaguely the same!
Not here, not here. While the general makeup of the two songs was similar, they were worlds apart. Who was the genius behind this? Who would span music so gorgeously?
Next thing you know, I am at the Hilo Borders store, and I see a promo CD for something Scissor Sisters. It's free, so I "buy" it – and promptly forget about it.
Fast forward to this last trip. I am smarting because someone stole my generator and I had to sleep on the floor. I get into the car, and I am deadly tired. So I go back into the house, and get the CDs out. I realize I never listened to the promo CD, which I assumed to be just an interview with a few riffs and vocals from the songs I already know. Still, I throw it in, and turn on the volume.
There it hits me. It's actually a totally different song. It's "I Don't Feel Like Dancin'." I realize I had heard that song a few days before on the radio, and I had been surprised because it sounded like SS, and it was very atypical of KBIG, my favorite station on the island.
I Don't Feel Like Dancin'is as catchy a title as they get. It is in the tradition of Laura, but packs a few punches in that are new, exciting. It's a song you just can't get out of your head, and I couldn't stop humming it all day long. It captured me, following me every step of the day, giving me energy and making me forget the troubles of the day.
Next, I went to Borders to buy the full CD. I got Ta-Dah in the morning, and I listened to it on the way to the beach. The only song that stuck out, initially, was Intermission. Oddly enough, both songs mentioned were created as collaborations with Elton John.
Intermission was a third, entirely unrelated class of song that didn't resemble anything I had heard from SS. It was strongly reminiscent of the Thirties, and had a wonderful section with swaying vocals, that just perfectly juxtaposed with the ocean that was gently rolling to my side. Still, I was surprised at the vocals – always dark and negative.
I didn't connect to any other of the songs. But I knew there was something in there, something magic in this music. I continued listening, and realized the songs would open themselves up to me one by one.
Now I am listening all the time to She's My Man, puzzling at the lyrics (not unlike my first impression of laura).
What does this music sound like? The first thing that comes to mind is: retro. Some of it is disco-ball disco, with falsetto chants that could have been straight from the Bee Gees. Some of it is glam rock, with guitar riffs up and down the hill. Some of it is suave ballads, something a Madonna, or Cindy Lauper would have been fond of singing.
All in all, though, it's fun music. It is infectious, it is astonishingly rich and varied, and it is in good spirits and tunes you into your own best moods.
I would give it five stars on entertainment value.