Scissor Sisters once lamented that “there ain’t no tits on the radio” — a scientific observation on the limits of sound, sure, but also a comment on the conservative strangling of the band’s out-and-proud New York milieu by former Mayor Giuliani. They didn’t just recognize the problem, either; they used their freak-friendly disco glam to help solve it, becoming a major-label media sensation in America and platinum-selling pop stars in the U.K.
So you’d expect Ta-dah, the quintet’s follow-up, to sound like a victory lap. And in a way it does: Though their debut didn’t lack for production polish, these new songs gleam with nouveau riche sparkle. “Lights” features sleazy guitars inspired by polyester-era Stones. “Intermission” is a zippy vaudeville homage. Lead single “I Don’t Feel Like Dancin'” contains songwriting input from Elton John, a vocal Scissor Sisters fan.
But examine Ta-dah more closely and you hear the melancholy underlining that triumph; much of the disc describes the emptiness that the Sisters felt upon returning home from Top of the Pops. “It’s not easy having yourself a good time,” frontman Jake Shears admits in “I Can’t Decide,” before claiming that “we were born to die” in “Intermission.” And despite its good-foot groove, “I Don’t Feel Like Dancin'” is about wanting to ignore the night-life’s siren song. That’s cool — they’ve earned the break. But for our sake, they’ve gotta get back out there. | COMMENT