Queer Eye For The Straight Guy
With the success of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy has come a rush of hype and tie-in products. For a while there, NBC (parent company of Bravo, which airs the program) seemed to have sent out a memo to all of its other series “suggesting” they have their characters mention it. The Fab Five started turning up so many places, the old chestnut about appearing at the opening of an envelope was dusted off just for them. And in the way of things the media raises up, burns out and throws away, the show moved from “in” to “out” in the all-important Entertainment Weekly version of the world.
Fortunately, through all this, the show itself has remained consistent — at the very least, a light, fluffy piece of entertainment, at best, a way to build a bridge between two communities that polls tell us are still divided.
Just as fortunately, this soundtrack makes for a showcase of “gay” (read: pop R&B, high-energy club) music that can stand on its own. It’s unabashed product from the sleek cover photos to press-agent puffery liner notes, but it’s product that delivers on its promise, and that’s as much as you can ask.
So let’s break it down:
Widelife with Simone Denny, “All Things (Just Keep Getting Better)” — This of course is the show’s insanely catchy theme in a new single mix. I’m enough of a fan to wish the TV version was also included, but that’s not an argument against the blissful genius of this one.
Basement Jaxx featuring Lisa Kekaula, “Good Luck” — I know Basement Jaxx is critically acclaimed, but, well, I’m a critic and I can’t join in the acclaim. For me, this is the weakest spot on the CD; your mileage, as they say, may vary.
Kylie Minogue, “Slow” (Chemical Brothers Remix) — I also don’t share the fascination many of my English and/or gay brethren have with Kylie — not for her music, anyway — but this is the kind of synthesized slice of sex that could make a liar of me.
Junior Senior, “Move Your Feet” — I’m already on record as calling this the greatest summer song since “Walking on Sunshine.” Works in spring, too.
In Grid, “You Promised Me (Tu Es Foutu)” — Greatest use of an accordion in dance music since W.G. Snuffy Walden’s scores for The Drew Carey Show.
Jamelia, “Superstar” — Jennifer Lopez knock-off, but no less hot for that.
Fischerspooner vs. Billy Squier, “Everybody Wants You To Emerge” (Barry Harris revamp) — Mash-up of “Emerge” with “Everybody Wants You.” To my pleasure and surprise, the Barry Harris in question is the same one who did stuff like this with Kon Kan back in the ’80s. I knew “Puss N Boots/These Boots (Are Made For Walking)” — a mash-up of Led Zeppelin with Nancy Sinatra — was ahead of its time.
Duran Duran, “Sunrise” (Jason Nivens remix) — This is the first track to be released from the forthcoming reunion album of “the original fab five.” God help me, I’m actually excited about this. I’m sorry, this is thrilling.
Sting, “Never Coming Home” (Gonna Live My Life remix) — First reaction was that Sting’s high vocals were a strained mix with ROCAsound’s bass and beats, but it’s been growing on me.
Prophet Omega, “An Area Big Enough To Do It In” — In terms of having some of the spirit of the show, this melodic track is one of the best. You can almost see the ghost of the Straight Man Du Jour flitting about his recently Fab-u-lized apartment as he gets ready for company.
OK Go, “You’re So Damn Hot” — Disposable but fun. Like many hot people.
Liz Phair, “Extraordinary” — This is from what some call her “sell-out” album. Quick rule of thumb: Four times out of five, anyone who thinks rock-n-roll still has any soul left to sell is a dick. It’s all one show business, it was bought and paid for a long time ago, and this is a perfectly good pop song.
Elton John, “Are You Ready For Love” — Yeah, one of these days I’ve got to get me a good Elton greatest hits collection.
Finally, god bless whoever decided to include the unlisted bonus track, what I like to call “The Ballad of the Fab 5,” concocted on the spot in an episode of the series by Jai, Kyan and Ted. “Five gay men cleaning one house…”
Queer Eye For The Straight Guy: http://www.bravotv.com/Queer_Eye_for_the_Straight_Guy/Music/