02. SCISSOR SISTERS “Night Work”
“Night Work” has it all. It has fisting, it has Ana Matronic being taken in front of her parents, it has boats, it has glory-holes, it has gay-saunas, it has a whole new way to be loved, it has sweat, it has a song about time, it has Kylie Minogue on backing vocals, it has a Kylie Minogue sample, it has cats, it has skin that is tight, it has night-life, it has Stuart Price, it makes you want to groove, it makes you want to live… basically it’s all-in-all an invisible light of brilliance. But most importantly, it has “Sex & Violence”.
The Scissor Sisters really pulled themselves out of the creative funk that was their last album (the good but often patchy “Ta-Dah!”) with the sexiest record of the year. Night Work was a return to glory(hole) form, upping the scale of pop smarts, dance floor-mayhem and musical brilliance we’d experienced on their self-titled debut a few years earlier. Teaming up with Stuart Price was a properly genius move on their part too; the outcomes of the marriage between these two musical minds secured the Scissters their place in the Top 2 the second the record was released. In fact, for most of 2010, ‘Night Work’ was my Number 1 album of the year. It is – after all – their greatest, most tantalising record yet; every song on here marks a true career pinacle.
Together as a cohesive album, the tracks make a lot sense, and much to both the Scissters and Price’s credit, individually they work incredibly well too. From slow-burning first single “Fire With Fire”, complete with its reflective lyrics and truly anthemic finish, to the saucy “Any Which Way” (the number featuring Miss Minogue on backing vocals) which sees Matronic shine at her very brightest, and the piece-de-resistance of Night Work; the shimmering “Invisible Light”, make incredibly strong moments on the album that were spun into singles. But the tracks that aren’t singles are just as strong on here, essentially producing a 12-track record with 12 potential singles. “Something Like This” (featuring the geniusly slotted, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it Kylie sample) should still be their next single – if not for the fact it’s a proper dance floor corker but also for the video clip possibilities, “Running Out” sees Jake Shears and Matronic hit the proverbial gymnasium of life while giving you a reason to jump around in your seat (Matronic’s first appearance in this track is one of Night Work’s biggest highlights), and “Harder You Get” is a sleazy trip into 70′s psychedelic glam-rock that is stronger than most rock songs released by actual rock acts in the last 12 months. And they’re pop stars!
“Invisible Light” may be the hallmark moment on Night Work overall, but the best – perhaps on a personal level – is easily “Sex & Violence,” if not for the way it glides along like a Pet Shop Boys anthem, but perhaps for housing the albums best lyrics; “Are you sleeping? If you are, do you dream of what I’m doing?/You were walking home that night, too kind to be illusive. Where you live? What you give? Who you with? And how you gettin’ home? Does anybody know right now, exactly where you are? A step inside’s a step too far…/Sex & Violence; who is gonna make you cry?” It’s the only song on Night Work whose lyrics are somewhat vulnerable, Shears simultaneously sounding strong but preciously broken as well. It’s the most truly divine song in their collection, as much so for the way it makes you hit the dance floor as it makes you cry on it.
It’s hard to knock all of that back and not recognise this record as being their absolute. Shiny perfection from start to finish, with the right amount of Stuart Price gloss to bring out the complete best in each moment. Easily one of the greatest, most refined records of our generation.