Album Review: Scissor Sisters: ‘Night Work’ by guest contributor OddOne


NOTE FROM SEÁN: I think I’ve prattled on about my life being pretty busy at the moment so I don’t have time to contribute to this blog as much as I would like. One of the things I have missed out on is album reviews. I just don’t have the time to listen to albums at the minute and won’t be able to post any for a while yet. Never fear though, the brilliant OddOne, a regular commenter on BBC Chart Blog, has allowed me to post his album review for the new Scissor Sisters’ record.

OddOne is an excellent writer and definitely has a brain in his head when it comes to music so I think many of you will enjoy his track by track review. Once I get more settled, I will also be doing track by track reviews of albums although they will have a different format to them than OddOne’s.

Enough out of me! Read OddOne’s take on the New York quintet’s third studio album below.

Click the song title to link you to YouTube where you can hear the song.

Well, that was quick….. I dunno what I must’ve been on last night but it’s now official, Night Work maybe a grower… but its AMAZING! And not the kind of amazing I’d use describe a hot new artist or even an established one… this is a WHOLE new level! So I would like to withdraw ALL my previous commets about the album.

Right, I think this calls for another uber-long post. Track by track review yes? Yes.

01. Night Work (5 STARS)

One of the rockier moments on the album, it’s a sure-fire single with a Bee-Gees-esque chorus and an irresistably dancey, guitar-driven production. The guitars are combined with a super-seductive bass and countless synths. The song is dying to drag your posterior straight onto the dance floor because the “week day, nine-to-five shift is over”. This is the kind of song kids and adults can sing along to, because it’s bascially about getting wrecked on the weekend, but that story is hidden so well the kids will just see it as ‘that other catchy song I heard on the radio this morning’.

02. Whole New Way (3.5 STARS)

Rubbery synths, euphamisms, crescendos and catchy “Ooohs” pretty much makes this song. There’s a slight electro-raggae sound, I think (someone please agree or I’ll just look mad!) And the chorus features a bouncy, euphamistic hook-like about finding “a whole new way to love you”. Plenty of very clever lyrics and one of the best middle eights I heard this year, this song really makes you feel like you’re in a dirty bondage bar on a Saturday night… on a strictly business related visit, I assure you. 😉

03. Fire With Fire (5 STARS)

File:Scissor Sisters Fire With Fire.jpg

A real stand-out, but only because, as I’ve said before, it’s different lyrically, in it’s attitude, it’s production, and it’s commercial value. Clearly the most commercial song on the album, it’s the huge chorus and gradual development from ballad to firey dance number than being thrown into that explosive second chorus that make this one of the Scissor Sisters’ best hits. It does seem out of place sandwhiched between song as dirty as they are, though.

04. Any Which Way (4.5 STARS)

This song starts with a siren. Good idea, and very apt. This song is HUGE! This is the Scissor Sister impersonating the Bee-Gees at their very best. Brilliantly composed verses backed-up with a seriously bouncy bassline. Then the chorus. Wow. Again. Like, really. A hugely catchy production with syncopated chords and another one of those rubbery synths. Then along comes the wacky Ana Matronic with a spoken interlude about “taking her” in front of… well I’d better not spoil the surprise. 😉 A final crescendo with absolutely flawless production makes this a stand-out track.

05. Harder You Get (4.5 STARS)

Jake Shears employs a super-deep register on this track, his vocals deliberately seductive, singing about some “apples” and how he wants you to “grab ’em”. It’s not before the chorus on this one – only 34 seconds in – and I wouldn’t have it any other way. This has to be one of the chatchiest choruses on the album; another rockier number, combined with the synths to create very much an bubblegum-on-the-brain scernario. Add some dirty lyrics about “sweat” and “being wet” and a few “do do doo do doo”s and you’ve got yourself another hit in the bag for the Scissor Sisters.

06. Running Out (4 STARS)

Overall, this is one of the cleaner moments (sigh of relief!). Still, a very upbeat number with quick-fire lyrics about running out of “money, luck, love” as well as naughty substances show that the attitude hasn’t let up just yet. Descending lines about giving more put i in the right mood for going out and partying. A sing-off between Jake and Ana add comedy to this song, and there’s something about the synths in that chorus that make this one one of the best to have on repeat.

07. Something Like This (4 STARS)

With heavy drums and plenty of stuttery synths joined with a catchy opening verse, the dirty sound is BACK! BACK! BACK! Jake now wnats to show you “something like this”. If you imagine those three words sung really high, then imagine the lowest note of Jake’s register for the word “goes”, and then repeating that phrase over and over, you’ve got it. More and more elements are added, to ensure you don’t get bored of the audio eroticism going in inside your ear-drums. Only after the second chorus does this song really take off. Lots of falsetto “la la la”s to sing along to aswell.

08. Skin This Cat (2.5 STARS)

A retriggered vocal line from Ana Matronic introduces this song, which sees hear slick, seductive vocals whisper huskily about about how there’s “a million million ways to skin this cat”. A tension-building bridge introduces very retro sounding blips and bleeps that aren’t to different from the Pac Man era, circa 1982. It’s then when you realise the whole song’s production could’ve been borrowed from that game. That and the no real sense of drama unfortunately out-weigh the positives this song gives.

09. Skin Tight (5 STARS)

In this song it appear Jake’s had enough of dominating you and now he wants the love back: “wrap me in your love/you’re so skin tight”. A euphoric, piano intro leads on to Jake’s vocoded vocals singing about loving someone tightly. Then the beat comes in and the mood lifts but it’s the chorus that really moves the song into the emotion I like to call ‘elation’. A huge chorus about Jake being wrapped in someone else’s love means this is surely going to another single; it’s very radio-friendly and in the same vein as ‘Night Work’, in the adults and kids can enjoy it harmlessly. This song ends with a pulsing bassline and leads straight into the next song.

10. Sex And Violence (5 STARS)

Starting where ‘Skin Tight’ left off, then song, as you can imagine, is much sexier, has much huskier vocals, a darker production and element of new wave music. Sliding synths accompany the pounding beat and after what appears to be a slightly boring verse a crescendo into the energetic yet melancholy chorus. This song continues to get louder until the last minute where the sliding synths lead into a typical Pet Shop Boys climax. in fact, I’d say there was quite an obvious bit of Niel Tennant in Jake Shears’ vocals on this one.

11. Nightlife (4.5 STARS)

Another slower number, with plenty of vocoded “Woo-Woo”s to tantalise before a singular beat and plenty of distortion create the all-important suspense. On ‘Night Work’ Jake was a “young boy”, on this one he’s claiming he was a “young girl”… okay make your mind up… Still, the beat just increased by about 24 bpm. This is no longer a slow number. It’s an all-guns-blazing; let’s-have-a-party; I-can’t-just-stay-inside- vibed track about craving the nightlife. This has one of the best choruses on the album, with a call and response style single liner, then the whole band retaliating with “NIGHTLIFE” to create another standout track.

12. Invisible Light (featuring Sir Ian McKellen) (5 STARS)

Well, many of you have heard this one, but for those of you who haven’t, it’s a hypnotic, tension-y, bassy, then synthy, then beat-y track with metallic chords to accompy Jake’s dulcit tones about being “at the doors of Babylon”. Every few seconds this song get bigger, and bigger, and bigger. Neither sexual nor fun, and nor is it sad, this song is androgynous as they come, with a simply maginficent chorus to carry the brilliance of the bridge into the ever-climatic chorus. This song’s production also has a hint of Pet Shop Boys to it. Oh and by the way, this is most definitely a standout track, and may just be the best thing the Scissor Sisters have ever done. Oh, and Ian McKellen says ‘painted whores’… DOES THIS SONG LACK ANYTHING!?!?

So there. While I originally called it ‘too sexual’, ignore that! This is the best album of the year so far by a clear country mile.

Simply The Best: Invisible Light

Other Standouts Worth A Download: Night Work, Fire With Fire, Any Which Way, Harder You Get, Skin Tight, Sex And Violence, Nightlife

Only If You Must: Whole New Way, Running Out, Something Like That

Give It A Miss: Skin The Cat


Pretty much the whole thing then… Smiles all ’round!

Written by: OddOne