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Music that mattered Gay

Despite lagging sales, big albums surfaced this year



Friday, December 28, 2007


There were big names, big headlines, big scandals, and big sounds in 2007. A former pop starlet melted down in front of the world, an aging pop diva made a deal that shook the music industry to its core, and Judy Garland made an unusual post-mortem stop in … a gay man’s body.


After going acoustic for their last studio album and tour, gay favorites Erasure plugged back in and covered the dance floors with glitter with “Light at the End of the World,” a synth-drenched joy of an album. The British duo showed no signs of slowing down since they toured, recorded “Light,” toured with Cyndi Lauper on the True Colors Tour, and then toured again to support the new album. Whew!


Another Brit who made a big splash (in more ways than one) was Mika, who debuted with the campy (yet substantial) “Life in Cartoon Motion.” While he played it coy with the media, Mika’s album contained some of the gayest-sounding recordings this side of Scissor Sisters and one song was about a bloke who leaves his wife for another man. Fabulous!


Out and proud Ari Gold released “Transport Systems,” a sensual, thought-provoking, dance-oriented album and Aussie artist Darren Hayes released the ambitious “This Delicate Thing We’ve Made,” two CDs filled with 26 songs. Rufus Wainwright offered up his characteristically mournful sound on “Release the Stars.” Other gay artists with new albums out in 2007 were Brian Kent and Jason Walker.


While some of the other big lesbian names in music were resting up from their last offering (Indigo Girls) or gearing up for their next album (k.d. lang), Melissa Etheridge released “The Awakening,” her ninth studio album. This concept album was born from Etheridge’s time spent in chemotherapy and recovery from breast cancer and it was one of the best albums of the year, hands down.


For other releases by some of our favorite females, check out “Courage” by out singer Paula Cole (her first album in eight years), the excellent and soulful “Breakfast in Bed” by Joan Osborne and Tori Amos’ multifaceted “American Doll Posse.”


Divas (and divas-in-training) ruled the charts this year with amazing releases, among them the stellar “Songs of Mass Destruction” by Annie Lennox, “Good Girl Gone Bad” by the ubiquitous Rihanna, “My December” by the defiant and talented Kelly Clarkson, the surprisingly good “Blackout” by train wreck Britney Spears, and “X” from international pop star Kylie Minogue.


Reba McEntyre enlisted some all-star talent to help with “Reba Duets,” including Justin Timberlake, Faith Hill, Vince Gill and a host of others. Other notable country releases from 2007 were “Let It Go” by Tim McGraw, “Heaven, Heartache, and the Power of Love” by Trisha Yearwood, “Family” by LeAnn Rimes, and “Carnival Ride” by American Idol vet Carrie Underwood.


After taking 2006 by storm, the honey-voiced Mary J. Blige returned with “Growing Pains,” an album about the ups and downs of life, but with an optimistic, “you can do it” attitude. Other R&B artists with music worth checking out from 2007 were Chaka Khan, Angie Stone, Alicia Keys (if you do not have chills when listening to her single “No One,” get to a doctor now!), Queen Latifah, and Chris Brown. Hip-hop big names like Kanye West and Timbaland took the world by storm with their strong releases and have been busy in the studios with other artists prepping more hot tracks for 2008.


If you missed your favorite artist in concert or just want to bring home the memories, live packages are available from Sir Elton John, Madonna (who signed a revolutionary, all-encompassing deal with tour promoter Live Nation), Minogue, Erasure, R.E.M., Barbra Streisand, Nelly Furtado, Scissor Sisters, and, in case you need a cure for insomnia, there was always the live CD from Live Earth. Wainwright joined in with an astounding release: “Rufus Does Judy at Carnegie Hall, which was undoubtedly one of the gayest releases of 2007. Wainwright revisited Garland’s former performances with wit, aplomb, and, yes, a bit of reverence.


Look forward to more great music in 2008 with new albums to come (according to reports as of press time) from Janet Jackson, Madonna, Mariah Carey, Sheryl Crow, Lenny Kravitz, Goldfrapp, and a 25th anniversary edition of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”

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I wish people would stop comparing Mika to Sissor Sisters AND Freddie Mercury.

I don't think his songs sound gay, except for the subject-matter of Billy Brown of course.


But it was a good review, a lot better than some he's had, and I think Mika would be pleased with it.


Love today, from Marilyn

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