Hear Me Out

By |2006-10-05T09:00:00-04:00October 5th, 2006|Entertainment|

Scissor Sisters, “Ta-Dah” (Universal Motown)
Give the Scissor Sisters 18 seconds. That’ll be all they’ll need to get your feet tappin’ against the ground (or against your gas pedal if you’re like me and get down while you’re driving). The lead single and infectious dance-anthem, ironically penned “I Don’t Feel Like Dancin’,” is sunny. Like, really sunny. So sunny you might have to pull out the Ray-Bans from summer storage. With lead singer Jake Shears’ falsetto, reminiscent of the Bee Gees, draped over a liberating retro dance-pop beat circa ’80s, the tune will have you footsteppin’ shortly after the brief guitar-driven intro. “She’s My Man,” one of several tracks with an unexpected emotional punch, is a throwback to Elton John’s “I’m Still Standing.” “Ta-Dah” isn’t without its musical quirks, which pop up on the circus-feel of “Intermission.” But the song is anything but gleeful. “Tomorrow’s not what it used to be, we were born to die,” Shears croons. But, whether the sextet embraces their dark or happy-go-lucky side, they keep the beats flowing. And even if they don’t feel like dancing, we will. (In stores now)

Mindy Smith “Long Island Shores” (Vanguard)
After a gloriously poignant debut, there were high expectations for Nashville-based Mindy Smith’s follow-up. So high that her follow up, “Long Island Shores,” is a bit of a let down. Named after her hometown, “Shores” doesn’t exactly reach new heights, but it keeps Smith’s feet planted in her forte: weaving sweet melodies with her tender lyrics and crystalline voice. On first single “Out Loud” (easily one of the best adult contemporary tunes this year) Smith contemplates a world where we all treat each other with respect (imagine that). “Hey friend, why are we always fighting?/Who’s left to hit when everybody’s down?/ I know we’re afraid but love is trying to save us anyhow/I have thought about it and I have prayed about it out loud.” A duet with folkster Buddy Miller, whose rough voice mixes well with Smith’s sweet soprano, on “What If The World Stops Turning” stands out on a set mostly void of upbeat ditties, but full of finely-crafted saccharine songs. (In stores Oct. 10)

Justin Timberlake, “FutureSex/Lovesounds” (Jive)
When did we lose sexy? Oh, damn. Must’ve been the moment I stepped into Kmart last week. But, regardless of my gay no-no, sexy is back via former boy-band member Justin Timberlake. Our boy’s all grown up. Or at least that’s what the parental advisory label on the cover of his second CD suggests. But upon an initial listen there are traces of Timberlake’s solo debut album strewn throughout and the tracks quickly melt into one another. After several spins, each ditty begins to form its own identity, but some of the electronic beats tailor made for romping, seem repetitive. On the poignant “Losing My Way” he sinks into the shoes of a crack addict, and he releases his inner lover on the syrupy “Another Song (All Over Again).” But the shimmering beats, and Timberlake’s sensuous falsetto, on “My Love” and the rough-edge of lead single “SexyBack” are hard to pass by, even if you haven’t caught the sexy fever. (In stores now)

John Mayer, “Continuum” (Sony)
Blame it on Mayer’s maturity, but the 20-something’s blues-influenced third album is definitely refreshing. Mayer’s raspy voice elicits the blues greats, most notably Eric Clapton, on several cuts. On “Waiting For The World To Change,” he relies on political fodder and fuses a groove similar sounding to, interestingly enough, “Sexual Healing.” The lovelorn weeper “Slow Dancing In A Burning Room,” an earnest ballad, ranks among the best fizzling relationship songs to be crafted in recent memory. (In stores now)

Fergie, “The Dutchess” (Interscope)
I heard “Hollaback Girl” on the radio while sitting in rush hour traffic last week and I totally swear there were no references to bananas. Something about London Bridge falling down? And getting loose with Grey Goose? Oh shit. Oh shit. Oh shit. This isn’t Gwen Stefani; it’s Fergie, sounding like a slew of other pop fixtures. Traces of Nelly Furtado (although Fergie ups the ante vocally) saturate The Black Eyed Peas’ frontwoman’s solo debut. But some of Fergie’s lyrics, which mostly consist of nonsense ramblings, most likely were pulled from her fifth-grade diary (“Would you love me if I didn’t work out?”). Fergie scores points for opening the doors – somewhat – to her personal life on “Big Girls Don’t Cry” and “Losing My Ground.” But it’s not necessarily ground she’s losing. It’s originality. (In stores now)

About the Author:

Chris Azzopardi
As editor of Q Syndicate, the international LGBTQ wire service, Chris Azzopardi has interviewed a multitude of superstars, including Cher, Meryl Streep, Mariah Carey and Beyoncé. His work has also appeared in The New York Times, GQ, Vanity Fair and Billboard. Reach him via Twitter @chrisazzopardi.