Scissor Sisters’ New Bag of Tricks

"[Sir Elton John] said in the beginning, ‘I don't know what's gonna happen. You guys do whatever you want with these songs. Let's just have fun. If nothing happens, we still enjoyed the process."


profile_scissorsLife is good for Scissor Sisters. Hot on the heels of attaining the top selling record in the United Kingdom in 2004, they have returned with a new record Ta-Dah (Universal Motown) and a new slide of hand maneuver to gradually become just as appreciated stateside. The Scissor Sisters origination hasn't come easy for the band as they began to form around the disastrous time of 9/11. With determination and gumption, they're more than content with the number one record in the United Kingdom and a U.S. debut at 19. The Scissors are fated to gain admiration because of their aptitude and not due to crazy stunts including fighting in public, name-calling fellow artists, and schmaltzy videos that are better than the music itself. Oh, they have their eccentricities, but they still cash their checks from the bank of integrity.

During a recent conversation with the glue that holds the rest of the band together, also known as Babydaddy, we caught up on old times. Merely days before their pivotal appearance on ABC's Dancing With the Stars, I had the chance to discuss the current fruition of the collective of Jake Shears, Ana Matronic, Del Marquis, and Paddy Boom with him.

The first single, "I Don't Feel Like Dancin," is one part 1975 mid-tempo disco pop as reverence to the theme from One Day at a Time and another part electronic sparkle, carefully crafted to have the right amount of synthesizer coexisting with the piano provided by Sir Elton John, who also co-wrote the song. "Working with Sir Elton was really easy…really fun," said Babydaddy. "He's become this great friend that we ended up hanging out with. He was playing a show in Vegas and we went there for three days actually on the stage. He pulled out a computer for me and some keyboards had his piano hooked up, too. We did a whole bunch of instrumental tracks that we brought from New York." Later, during the "IDFLD" sessions, Sir Elton visited the Scissors in the studio in New York where he was later "kidnapped" by them; a couple of hours later, the song was finished. Clearly, this was a connection of mutual respect and admiration of one another because Elton presumably wouldn't do this for just anyone. Related Babydaddy, "He said in the beginning, ‘I don't know what's gonna happen. You guys do whatever you want with these songs. Let's just have fun. If nothing happens, we still enjoyed the process."

"Paul McCartney" isn't necessarily about the former Beatle. "It was based on a dream that Jake [Shears] had, although it wasn't meant to sound in the vain of what he does but a lyrical homage to him and the music that inspires us in general." Babydaddy also added, "The track came about from originally working with Carlos Alomar, who is a hero of ours. We knew him from giving guitar lessons to our guitar player Del [Marquis] a few years ago. We gave a go writing with him adding what he does with what we do, adding that real funk playing the bass and some of the guitar with Del." It would easy and unfair to call this track "Filthy/Gorgeous: Part 2" due to the attention it has already received combined with the same amount of oomph.

The video is already shot for the second single "Land of a Thousand Words," which is an epic and lush ballad with as much charisma as the more rapid pieces. It's a reassuring and dreamy song in the classic formula of songs that wrap-up ballroom dances as couples hold each other tight before the light comes on. Romance and chivalry are the main ingredients; Babydaddy explained the choice as single number two. "The markets work so differently from country to country. The U.K. will get ‘Land of a Thousand Words' as the next single, which will be perfect for Christmas time. The U.S. moves very slowly for singles, so it might be a different one."

Last but not least by any stretch of the imagination, I would be performing a disservice by overlooking the subdued beauty of "The Other Side." It's proof that Shears' lower register is just as striking as his falsetto. The misty aura of it resembles all the qualities of what we loved about pop songs on the radio before radio became corrupted by the almighty dollar as the do-all-be-all. The lyrics and orchestration are polished as a reassuring portion of Ta-Dah.

The bandwagon is gradually increasing as targeted. Through the various promotions, advertising, and word-of-mouth support from their loyal and American fans, the fans' pre-release anticipation for the record was further heightened by periodic reports via video podcasts of the progress, including Paddy Boom's mention of doing half the vocals from his drum kit on Ta-Dah. Babydaddy concluded with a laugh, "Although there are a number of credited backing vocalists on the record, fortunately Paddy doesn't sing on this record. You should hear him. It's a train wreck."

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