In 2004, the Scissor Sisters somehow found their way into the pop scene, and they found success with singles off their…interesting mix of dance, rock, and lyrics that oozed sexuality, but not the typical pop sexuality. Four of the five members of the band (I am uncertain which is the odd one out) are gay, and this was flaunted, celebrated, and at times mourned to the club beats of their first album. Now in 2006, the Scissor Sisters have released their sophomore album, Ta-Dah!
This album is more rock (some decent guitar work including a solo in “She’s My Man”) and a little less techno. There were some attempts at groove-based songs that made their debut so fun. These include the first single “I Don’t Feel Like Dancing” and “Ooh.” But none of them have the same spirit, panache, or funk as the dance songs on the debut. “Ooh” is a good song, the chorus is pretty catchy. It is definitely a Scissor Sisters song, with the right mix of camp and rhythm.
However, I cannot stand the single, “I Don’t Feel Like Dancing.” This is the opener to the CD, so when I first put in the CD, I groaned. The chorus is overly campy and not very grabbing perhaps it was not meant to be a dance song, as the title might suggest…I may have missed something. Upon listening to it again, it is not much of a dance song after all, but the little piano before vocals are damn annoying. They could have gone with a better intro.
A more disco-ish song is “Lights.” I have mixed feelings about this song, as a majority of the song is pretty good. It has a Saturday Night Fever feel, hence my calling it “disco-ish.” But there is a completely unnecessary horn intro, the horns are not in the rest of the song, and feel out of place. Other than that, the song has some good vocals and synths.
I like the rock songs more than the dance songs. These include “She’s My Man” and “Kiss You Off.” Both of these are great songs. They have attitude, they have flair, just as the Scissor Sisters should have. Admittedly, the intro to “She’s My Man” still lacks any hook, which is a problem with the whole album. But the lyrics are out there, and I love it. Jake Shears has a very interesting voice, he hits high notes like Andy Gibbs, when he goes low (well, relatively low) he reminds me of Freddy Mercury, not going falsetto. I know they probably don’t sound much alike, but that is what comes to mind. There’s a little guitar solo from Del Marquis, which is something I do not remember from the debut. It’s nothing special, but it’s nice enough.
“Kiss You Off” has a model’s runway feel to it, it’s got upbeat drums and humming guitars. It’s a song about moving on, with a kiss. Mr. Shears is fed up and “kissing you off.” Another “runway song,” if you will is “Paul McCartney,” with the synthesizers, and a funky bass courtesy of Babydaddy. He has some moments on the album, but I feel he could have had more of an effect. “Paul McCartney” is possibly the catchiest song on the CD, mostly because of the nice vocals, with the extra high pitched “to you”s.
However, “I Don’t Feel Like Dancing” is not the only truly bad song. It’s not even the worst. That award goes to “I Can’t Decide.” From the pretentious feel of the verse to the terrible terrible terrible lyrics. For example: “Oh I could throw you in the lake/Or feed you poisoned birthday cake.” I shudder just thinking of that. The chorus is average, but the rest of the song is so bad. It’s sickeningly upbeat, which I guess was meant to be irony, since the song is about deciding whether or not some person should live.
The ballads, “Land of a Thousand Words” and “The Other Side,” pretty good. Not as good as “Return to Oz” or “Mary,” but they aren’t bad. The drowsy guitar and soft piano chords for “Land of a Thousand Words” fit for a long day.
With this album, the Scissor Sisters tried a number of different things. Hell, “Intermission” even went a little burlesque. But in the end, it doesn’t really come off as a consistent work. There are good songs, showing the band has a harder side, which I like. There are some relapses to the not-so-clean fun of disco pop, which is more hit and miss this time. All the songs sound like the Scissor Sisters, thanks mostly to Jake Shears vocals which glue everything together. But the songs sound like the Scissor Sisters at different stages. There is no filler, just some bad songs, they clearly thought about what they were doing, they just failed in my opinion. The CD’s inconsistency is mostly musically. The intros and instrumentation during verses are often very poor (“I Don’t Feel Like Dancing” “She’s My Man” “The Other Side” and especially, especially “I Can’t Decide). However they show some maturity, musically in songs like “Kiss You Off” and “Land of a Thousand Words.” As in the previous album, the choruses are generally spot on. It just seems they could’ve done more, musically, to make more consistently good songs. Ta-Dah! is fun, not as much fun as the debut, but still fun.