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.
Last week I was lucky enough to have a chat with Sneaky Sound System legend/Australian pop/fashion icon, Miss Connie Mitchell. We discussed everything from the state of pop music in Australia, to fashion, to Barbeque’s, album number three, and even working with Stuart Price. Here is a transcript…
Hello Miss Connie, how are you??
Good, very busy but good!
So you guys have just embarked on your Poptronica tour… any new tricks up your sleeves you want to share??
(Laughs) I think we always have to have new tricks because, members of the audience would be getting bored. We like to keep it fresh and new. Come and see what tricks we’ve got for you though…
(Laughter) I will definitely be doing so… You just recently returned from Overseas, in America! How was that?
Oh that was crazy, it was off the hook!
Yeah, it was just bloody amazing. Um, yeah, I think the difference in America is that the crowds come along because they’re excited to be seeing you anyway. There’s a certain level that you kind of have to be over there… I mean, can you imagine the kind of amazing things they’re exposed to over there?
Yeah, and it’s every week at their local venue (laughs). I mean, one of the places we’d played was used by Rhianna the week before for a gig, so that’s the standard you know.
How are things shaping up for a US release??
Very good indeed, we’ve actually had to push it forward because of the demand.
Yeah, well that’s definitely want you want.
You’ve got a show coming up soon with Lady Gaga… how did that come about?
I have no idea! (Laughs) I’ve been asking the same question myself. I think it will be safe to say though that my crotch will not be seeing any airtime.
(Rapturous Laughter ensues)
Speaking of all things overseas, that’s a very saucy new video clip for “I Love It”…
I know isn’t it just? But you know, it’s not as saucy as I would have liked! If you’re gonna do saucy, you have to do it properly, and the men were supposed to be topless but they wouldn’t get their shirts off. And they’ve all done Playboy and Penthouse shoots!
Tsk tsk tsk… unbelievable.
Isn’t it?! “Oh no, I don’t want to take my clothes off because it’s for a video clip!” Well you did Penthouse just last week!
“Oh but that’s different, it’s not moving picture” – was that their excuse?
(Rapturous Laughter) Oh of course!!
How are things going in the UK?
Really good as well, it’s nice to see that funny feeling between Australia and the UK has dissipated. There’s no such thing as “you’re a convict” anymore (laughs). It’s the complete opposite, I found England really refreshing.
You’ve got the remix EP out there which will be followed by the album, yes? When’s that happening?
Um, I think we’ve got the album coming out next month.
Quite soon then.
Yeah. Same release date as America actually.
Where do you think Australia sits when it comes to cutting edge pop music?
I think Australia’s pretty on for cutting edge pop at the moment, in terms of the rest of the world. You’ve gotta remember that a lot of these festivals which have cutting edge pop acts, they’re Australian. We’re just innovators, and they’re the… deliverers (laughs).
You’ve just released “16” as the new single here in Oz, any word on a follow up choice to that?
Well we were lucky enough to get the Thin White Duke to remix one of our tracks.
Yeah! Well he’s done Madonna, The Killers, and he had one of our songs on his hard drive but he didn’t know what it was or who it was by. He then spent about a month tracking it down, and it happened to be “It’s Not My Problem”, which he then went and did a mix of it for, we were like, my God, wow, thank you…
Yeah so we’re probably going to go out with that remix.
That’s a bloody good story…
Isn’t it Adem?! It was in his iTunes folder as “Track 1”. It just came up as “Track 1” (Laughs). So here’s a little tip guys… send out your demos but don’t label them properly! Just assign “Track 1” to every track…
And make them do the hard work.
You guys put together a tour montage video for the release of “16”… does that mean there might be a tour DVD at some stage down the line?
You know, that’s a really good idea and I think what we’re trying to do is break the mould when it comes to merchandise and DVD’s. So, we might even do some chairs… some Lego Chairs… Lego pendants, maybe some 8MM film, who knows?! Barbeques… I’m sick of just seeing T-Shirts at the merchandise stand! You know, I’m sick of it.
Good idea, give the fans something unique, something they can cook a kebab on even.
Exactly (laughs). BMX Bikes…
(Laughs) With “SSS” carved into them.
You’ve taken more of a drivers-seat position with the recent album, lead vocals on all the tracks, co-writing… did it make you a little nervous working on the new album, particularly after the success of the first?
Of course, there was a bit of a benchmark there you know?! I was like “oh babes, it’s terrible!” But, it wasn’t! I guess there are some people that go around being incredibly cocky about it, saying “Oh, it’s unbelievable, it’s fantastic”, like that guy from PNAU, but I just can’t do that. I’m the one going “Oh nahhhhh, it’s terrible!” (Laughs) But that’s how I operate, and I’d be a little bit concerned if I didn’t to be honest.
Has discussion about album number 3 come up at all?
Well we’ve been working on Number 3, well, immediately. There’s nothing as stupid as waiting around two years to come out with another release, you know you need to strike while the iron is hot, while everything is firing, get it out. Get working.
Do many people bring up your days with Primary?
Yeah quite a lot of people do. Which is really nice because it’s apart of Australian music history too.
I was a fan and thought I recognised the voice when I first heard ‘I Love It’.
Oh hooray! That’s good, I always hoped I had a distinctive voice.
Is it true Damon and Angus discovered you singing in a park, or is that a bit of a fib?
No it’s completely true!
Yup, Hyde Park. I was in the park with a girlfriend just being an idiot, pretending to be one of those female singer-songwriters, you know those ones?
(Laughter) Yes, I know those ones…
(Laughs) I live in Newtown and I’m a female singer-songwriter (laughs), um, and they just walked past. They came up and said they had a song, they were in a band and they had a studio, and I was all “yeah right!” Two guys (laughs)…
(Laughs) Come and par-tay back down at our studio! But I sussed it out with a friend and it turned out they were legit, so I went down there and the first song we recorded was “I Love It.”
Look, I must say Connie, you’re one of the best dressed pop stars in the world; where does your couture all come from??
Oh thank you Adem! Couple of people around me have really good eyes for fashion, but at the end of the day you also yourself have to have good eyes for what you want to wear, what’s going to fit your body the right way. So usually I have a lovely sewing girl who I say ‘I want this, this and this’ to, and then give it to her and she’ll make it up. I also have a really good stylist, who’s been so good, I can go off around the world and come back with stuff and she’ll go “Oh my God, where did you get that?, you don’t need me anymore!” So it’s a mixture of the three, a holy trinity of style. But at the end of the day, the boys are viciously good at saying yes or no to a costume. Like, NO, or THAT’S AMAZING. I’ve had “Get that off. Now” as well.
That’s never been offensive?
No, that’s how you know who your real friends are! They’ll tell you if you’re going to look hideous in something (laughs).
I’m hoping you’re still holding onto that incredible black & white ARIAs dress…
I am indeed! That was pretty amazing, and he’s a really great designer, that was designed by a guy named Daniel Varquian, who was actually a truck driver who decided he wanted to be a fashion designer instead. And thank God he did, I’m not sure how that actually came about, but thank God it did (laughs). I’d like him to do some more stuff in the future but, I can’t seem to find him.
I’ll get back to you on that! Maybe I’ll hire a detective (laughs). But it might be one of those dresses that never gets topped. I’m not saying it’s the greatest dress of all time (laughs) but, look, it might just be the one that goes into the glass cabinet (laughs).
By now everyone’s heard the Kylie Minogue story relating to “I Want Everything” – are you guys still being asked to do work with other artists?
Yeah we are, surprisingly we have other artists wanting to do collaborations with us as well. We’ve actually got a couple up our sleeve which I’m really excited about but I can’t say anything about them… But I think you’ve got to pick the right thing to do. Plus, we’ve got the third album to look at and there’s really a whole lifetime to write songs for other people.
Thank you so much for the chat Miss Connie.
Oh thank you, thank you, I’ll see you soon!
That is a picture of Madonna and Justin Timberlake leaving the same London recording studio after their first day of recording together this week. Liz Rosenberg – everyone’s favourite celebrity publicist – confirmed last night that the Queen of Pop was working with Justin & Timbaland on her upcoming album.
Rosenberg also claimed that their was no firm release date penned in yet, though most reports are predicting it to be sometime around November, much like the Confessions release in 2005.
According to the worlds most unreliable UK Newspaper, The Sun, the album will be quite eclectic and have a “hip hop” feel, however dancey songs produced by living, breathing god Stuart Price and Felix Da Housecat will also appear, with some apparent people “in the know” claiming it’ll be her most ambitious project yet.
Roll on November…
Meanwhile, environmentalists around the world are slamming Madonna for being a hypocrite by partaking in the Live Earth event. John Buckley – a professional hippy – has claimed that “It’s great for the celebrities to come out and support the cause, but they then have to follow it up in their own lifestyles. We should now keep a close eye on whether Madonna and the others makes any changes to their own lifestyle. Perhaps her next world tour will be performed in one venue, but broadcast to billions over the internet“… ERM. WHAT? Unfuckingbelievable. Dare I say it, but the uproar caused by a mass of Madonna fans around the world not receiving a visit on a world tour would probably escalate to a much bigger level than the problem of gas emissions being released from her tour jets. Could you just IMAGINE?
In a Valentines Day interview with Sirius Radio, Madonna has confirmed collaborating with Pharrel Williams. Oh yes. You can hear the woman say so herself – along with using the word “whack” (plus talk of how good she thinks the Gnarls Barkley and Justin Timberlake albums are) by popping over to this spot on the Internet.
To be completely honest, this would have to be the best Interview I’ve heard Madonna give in years. It probably helps that the Interviewer was an actual fan, one who was able to draw his own personal experiences into the chat. She sounded incredibly comfortable through out, even when it was suggested that if she were a vegetable, that it would be broccoli. No mention of Stuart Price‘s involvement on the upcoming album, but one can only hope he’ll be partaking in some sort of final tweekage of the whole thing. I couldn’t live with the idea of Madonna working with Pharrel and Stuart not glossing over the work.
Meanwhile, Rufus Wainright has added some fuel to the media fire he burns for Madonna by calling her a “false idol” for French Magazine Tetu. A couple of months earlier he said Mo’s Confessions Tour was “dark and humourless”, further claiming that she “surpasses even Joan Crawford in terms of megalomania.” Good for you mate.
According to madonnalicious.com, Stuart Price (pictured, right, with God) – during an interview with NME.COM – announced details of the upcoming Madonna album. The album will have a “new sound”, and both Madge & Stuart have been working with “top producers that are very in fashion right now”.
He also added the album will be released this year.
Datarock? Vitalic? What kind of sound do you think she’ll go for? I’m guessing a dancey-electro-rock, which would sit perfectly with producers like Datarock & Vitalic.
Should be a bloody good year by the sounds of things…
Hrmmm. Several other websites have reported similar stories, except from different sources. One site has claimed Stuart made the announcement on E! Television, whilst another says he made the announcement in the Daily Telegraph. Of course, none of the supposed sources have any online links, so something tells me it’s all bullshit.
There’s also the new report that Madge is working with PharrellWilliams (who does not deserve the bolding of his name thank you very much), which repulses me beyond belief. Something tells me this isn’t true either, but god help us all if it is, I’m not sure even Madonna could make anything Pharrell touches worth listening to. They’re also claiming Stuart will not be the main producer, which I think is also complete bullshit. She’d be absolutely bonkers not to use him heavily on the next album again, and I really don’t think she’s silly enough not to.
In the lead up to the “Confessions” album, you may remember news leaks “from Warner”, claiming the album was to be called “Defying Gravity” and would be rock influenced. Then we got a record called “Confessions On A Dancefloor” that was all club stuff. What this all looks like is either a clever set of lies leaked by people with a bit of time on their hands at the Madonna Camp, or – and this is more than likely the case – fans who’ve nothing better to do than stir up shit on various forums.
Liz Rosenberg… can we have some kind of confirmation that Madonna wouldn’t work with Williams in a million years? Has she not heard the “new” Gwen Stefani album, or, you know, anything Pharrell has done in the last 4 years? The thought of hip-hop Madonna sounds desperate, lame, and certainly not worth any kind of wait what so ever. Ugh.