By Jeff Walsh
I'm an unabashed Kinsey Sicks fan, and love seeing them live as well as listening to their recordings. Their latest CD, "Each Hit and I," (say it out loud), is a great addition to your Kinseys collection.
At 20 tracks, this CD covers a lot of ground. There are parody covers, original songs, and a live track with the Silicon Valley Gay Men's Chorus. But when I think about the CD, my mind keeps drifting to Ani Difranco.
I used to love seeing Ani DiFranco live, but there was a bit of a dilemma for me. She would always be touring when a new album came out, but if you liked the new album, she was already sort of on to the next thing. So, you had to catch the previous tour to hear her really play the songs that would be on the album you eventually liked. Once the CD was out, you already sort of missed it.
This came up to me when I saw the Kinseys multiple times during a two week run in San Francisco. In concert, they were singing "BP is Creepy," an original song about the oil spill (see the video below), and "Bedroom Ants," a Gaga parody about ants largely to "Bad Romance." The new CD came out the day the run began, and these two crowd pleasers weren't on it. But tracks about Michael Jackson ("Dead," to the tune of "Bad") and Britney Spears ("Fertilizer," to the tune of "Womanizer") seemed to be getting a tad dated. So, I figure these were previous live gems that finally found their way onto my iPod, and that lag was unavoidable.
Now, I realize I'm reviewing a funny a capella drag queen album the way other publications are scrutinizing the new output from Arcade Fire, but it's just an observation I had.
There are a lot of great tracks on here that will join their timeless pile. "See You When Tea is Drinkable," (again, say it out loud) is the furthest I've ever seen them go for a joke (which is saying a lot), but this thing wins me over every time I've listened to it. Another original "Things You Shouldn't Say" seems like it should wear thin after a few listens, since it is mainly about saying seemingly spontaneous inappropriate things, which stop being spontaneous when you know what they're going to say every time but, again, it keeps working.
Some of the other highlights include "Decaf" (to the tune of "Rehab"), "Gonorrhea" (to "Mamma Mia"), and "All Boy Singer Ladies" (Beyonce's "Single Ladies"). Two parodies merit breakout attention.
"Tranny Boy" is set to the traditional "Danny Boy," but has amazingly nuanced lyrics that balance their often-intertwined gift for perversion and emotion, as Winnie (the lesbian of the group) sings about her girlfriend, who is now her transgender boyfriend. (Oh, Tranny Boy, the Dykes on Bikes are calling... from Gwen to Glen, you joined the other side...).
At the complete opposite end of the spectrum is "I Kissed a Gull," where Winnie sings about a lonely night in a hotel room after a sexually-game seagull flies into her room. As you might guess, she kissed a gull and she liked it, but there is so much wordplay in here that is completely absurd, dirty, and hilarious, it merits repeat plays.
The live track with the Silicon Valley Gay Men's Chorus is "Jerry's Song," a tribute to the guy who portrayed Vaselina in the group for many years. The song was written by Rachel on the night she found out he died. It is spare and touching, and the extra oomph of dozens of voices filling out the song really give it a lot of power. I only wish they had already done a similar treatment of "Begonia's Song," a song off their first album dedicated to another deceased member of the group, which I always thought would be an amazing song for a chorus.
You certainly get a lot of value for your money with 20 tracks of America's Favorite Dragapella Beautyshop Quartet here, so I highly recommend finding a copy and adding it to your library. If you don't have a place for funny drag queens in your life, you should "Each Hit and I."
Samples from the CD
BP is Creepy: