Scissor Sisters

Scissor Sisters

Universal, 2004

REVIEW BY: Jeff Clutterbuck


I will always remember Sunday, September 26th 2004, primarily because of the Green Bay Packer-Indianapolis Colts game I was able to attend (Note to Green Bay: LEARN HOW TO PLAY DEFENSE!). However, something else happened that Sunday. What was that you ask? I found a candidate for album of the year.

I make no bones about it; I'm a sucker for anything retro. I play videogames on my Sega Genesis, I listen to classic rock on a turntable my grandparents bought for me for graduation, and I'm a history buff. So, when an album comes my way that sounds retro, it's already scored a few points in my book. However, Scissor Sisters goes above and beyond my expectations for a "retro" album.

Sometimes artists just take buckets of different paints, and just dump them on a canvas, and voila, it's proclaimed as art. That is exactly what the Scissor Sisters have done on this album. Remember any pop singles from the 70's? You know, songs from Elton John, Queen, ELO, the Bee Gees, ABBA, or practically any disco single? Well, you can hear hints of practically all of them on this album. The Scissor Sisters have taken the best elements of pop in the 70's, and mixed them all together. There's even a bit of rock and electronica in there for good measure.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

There is something on every song on this album that will reel people in. For me, it was hearing a clip of "Take Your Mama" and going, "Holy Crap, is that Elton John circa 1971 singing?" For others, it might be the Bee Gee inspired disco cover of Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb," which despite my misgivings blew me away. Or how about the R&B number "Laura", with Stevie Wonder-esque, vocoder inflected vocals? The list goes on and on.

The Darkness hit it big this year, with their exaggerated lyrics and over the top, Queen-like songs. While that didn't work for me, the Scissor Sisters take that same attitude, and make it work. The material is lighter, which certainly helps, but there is a definite "f*** you" attitude that permeates throughout the album. Everything is intentionally campy and derivative. The band almost seems to be daring you, the listener, to take this album seriously, which is something you can't. "Tits on the Radio", "Filthy/Gorgeous," if these songs were in the hands of 99 out of 100 groups, we would blast them for such material. However, the Scissor Sisters are that one group that can pull it off.

I've mentioned that every song on this album is superb, but there are some tracks that just transcend the rest of the album. Those in particular would be tracks like "Mary" or the brilliant "Return to Oz." The former is a heart-tugging Elton piano ballad, with a refrain reminiscent of "Tiny Dancer." "Return to Oz" is a mix between "Mother" from Pink Floyd's The Wall, and Bowie's "Space Oddity," with a David Gilmour-like solo to boot.

If there was ever a guilty pleasure album, this is it. It is nearly flawless in every aspect, never losing momentum, and more importantly, never taking itself seriously. And do you know what is really scary? I forgot to mention, in my unabashed praise, that this is their debut album.

Rating: A-

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© 2004 Jeff Clutterbuck and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Universal, and is used for informational purposes only.