By Jordan Meehan and Raj Rudolph
Yes! Finally! We’ve finally heard the new Scissor Sisters album Magic Hour! I’ve been waiting to hear this one for quite some time now and I had some pretty high expectations for this album. Were my expectations met? Well let’s break it down track by track…
Baby Come Home – This track opens up with a whole lot of funk that instantly reminds you of the Scissor Sisters that we’ve all come to know and love. It continues on with a funk sound into a big, vocally layered chorus that kicks in with a retro disco sound. This is a really great track to start the album off with; it has that familiar Scissor Sisters sound while still bringing some new flair to the table.
Keep Your Shoes On – Alright, I’m just gonna come out and say this, take it as you will, but this song reminds me of Beyoncé’s “Run the World (Girls)” but is a million times better. When you hear the chorus of this track, you’ll understand. It’s very percussion focused and has a militaristic marching beat that just makes you want to dance.
Inevitable – The album slows down a little bit with this track. Inevitable is a good mid-tempo track with verses that sound a bit like plastic soul Bowie, which transition into a bigger, more Motown sounding chorus about the inevitability of seeing “another spring again.” This track has 70s flair written all over it and I absolutely love it.
Only The Horses – All right, by now we’ve all already heard this one and you all better love it as much as I do. This track was the one that made me really excited for the new album (Shady Love had to grow on me, and it has!). This song got a lot of flack from some fans that claimed it was too mainstream pop and, while that’s a fair claim, since it was produced by Calvin Harris, who seems to be producing every top 10 pop hit these days. However, I still think that the sound of this track strikes a good balance between the classic Scissor Sisters sound and a newer, different sound. It’s a stellar dance pop track with some amazing vocals and remains one of my favorites from the album. I really didn’t intend to say this much about this song. Oops.
Year of Living Dangerously – Another mid-tempo track here. It’s a bit like Inevitable, but with a different sound. It’s sort of like we’ve changed decades with this one. A bit of an 80s feel with some futuristic sounds thrown in for good effect. We even get a real good dose of Jake Shears amazing falsetto and some string instruments! Recipe for success.
Let’s Have a Kiki – It’s literally impossible to dislike this song. We all need a good Kiki every now and then. This track is pretty much all spoken, starting off with a voicemail since Pickles doesn’t seem to want to answer his phone. Rude, right? Oh well. It turns into a really fun tribal feeling dance track just begging to be remixed and thrown onto a Friday night playlist.
Shady Love — As I said earlier, it took a little while for this song to grow on me. I didn’t listen to it much when it first came out, but now I really like it. This is another one of those songs that mixes older Scissor Sisters sounds with new ones. It’s a bit of industrial electro mixed with dance pop and a little bit of a hip-hop feel thrown in for good measure. But again, we’ve all already heard this one and formed our opinions on it, so moving right along…
San Luis Obispo – This one is quite upbeat and carefree sounding. It’s got some guitar and a light air to it and it’s a really enjoyable listen. While it’s a good song, it doesn’t really seem to fit in with the rest of the songs surrounding it, and it seems like more of a transition song into the end of the album.
Self Control – This one might be one of my favorite tracks on the album. It’s not quite as big of a dance track as Shady Love or Only the Horses, but it’s got a sleek, driving beat and is a great dance track in its own right with some great electro pieces thrown in. I’d like a music video for this one, please.
Best In Me – With the way this track starts out, you wouldn’t expect the lyrics to be so sweet. It starts off talking about writing a new song, which may or may not be played on MTV and goes into a simple but great song with really sweet lyrics (and a kickass beat) about a significant other.
The Secret Life of Letters – I might be way off base here, but this one sounds like it was inspired a bit by Depeche Mode in some ways. Regardless, this one slows it down again with as close to a ballad as you’ll find on this album. I don’t know if I would call this one a stand out track, but it’s still quite good and certainly not one you’d want to skip over.
Somewhere – All right, kids. I’m deeming this one the best song on the album. The verses have a driving beat and build up into a big, stellar chorus that instantly swells with sound and layered vocal harmonies and an air of bittersweet sentiment. This track really is the perfect closing track for such an album, with really hopeful lyrics and an overall incredible sound.
Ms. Matronic’s Magic Message – Pickles, why won’t you answer your phone? What could you possibly be doing for so long? Anyway, this is only a 27 second message that kind of ends the album and introduces a bonus track.
Fuck Yeah (Bonus Track) – I just love that they threw a song on the album called Fuck Yeah. This one is kind of the perfect encore for this album: it’s carefree, fun and just a really great dance track that really brings back the well-known Scissor Sisters sound.
Overall, Magic Hour is an incredible pop album and a great follow up to Night Work. Hardcore fans need not worry about the Scissor Sisters moving away from their niche due to new producers and collaborations. If anything, the new collaborations have made an even better sound than they’ve produced before, as the Scissor Sisters continue to effortlessly mash up a plethora of different styles, genres and sounds into one perfect pop package. One of the best albums so far this year? Oh yes, I would certainly say so.
Magic Hour is due out for release on May 28th. If you’re in London, you can also catch the Scissor Sisters at Shepherd’s Bush Empire on May 16th and 17th! Also, free tickets to Poptronik Festival to the first person that can tell me why Pickles keeps ignoring his phone calls. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go have myself a Kiki.