Camp Classic

More than just gay culture for dummies, Scissor Sisters practice the art of subversion

It's hard not to emerge with an opinion after listening to Scissor Sisters. Are they being sincere, or are they just being tongue-in-cheek? But the band does address a series of legitimate topics such as the effect of crystal meth on the gay club scene ("Return to Oz"), New York City politicians who are increasingly tolerant of the drag scene ("Tits on the Radio"), cruising ("Lovers in the Backseat"), and coming out ("Take Your Mama"). All of it is set to a catchy, updated, but not predated beat that marries swagger and commercial kitsch and is analogous in musical philosophy, though not subject matter, to Jheri curl funk duo Chromeo and French radio-filtering quartet Phoenix.

Scissor Sisters dress up because they are spotlight whores who love hamming it up and putting their quirks on display. After all, flamboyance, with its accompanying tinge of deviance, has long been an accepted rock convention. But the band also provides a mirror that questions whether people are honestly living out their own inner desires instead of conforming to them with images and sides from which to choose.

"After all, the best way to make change is from the inside, and we got our album into Wal-Mart unedited," declares Babydaddy proudly. "The label just decided the parental advisory sticker would come off and nothing else changed ... well, 'Tits' is spelled 'T**s' on the back, but that's a small price to pay to get our ideas across to Middle America."

The too funky Scissor Sisters: Paddy Boom (left), Babydaddy, Del Marquis, Jake Shears, and Ana Matronic
Courtesy of Girlie Action
The too funky Scissor Sisters: Paddy Boom (left), Babydaddy, Del Marquis, Jake Shears, and Ana Matronic

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