Frock 4 Life

Frock Destroyers

PEG/World Of Wonder, 2020

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frock_Destroyers

REVIEW BY: Peter Piatkowski

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 12/22/2020

If the cover of Frock Destroyers’ debut album Frock 4 Life is reminiscent of Spinal Tap, that makes perfect sense because it’s not quite clear if Frock Destroyers – RuPaul’s Drag Race UK alumnae Baga Chipz, Blu Hydrangea, and Divina de Campo – is a real group or simply a novelty act having a laugh. It’s a given that if a drag queen goes through paces on RuPaul’s Drag Race, she’ll parlay that exposure into a music career. Fifth-season winner Jinkx Monsoon even called her LP The Inevitable Album. The quality of the musical output of Drag Race queens vary wildly. Though there are some genuine musical talents – Monsoon and Trixie Mattel come to mind – more often than not, the resultant album is merely an attempt to stretch out 15 minutes of fame.

But Frock 4 Life’s existence has some logic because the trio’s debut single, “Break Up Bye Bye,” was a surprising top 10 hit after a well-received episode of Drag Race UK in which the Frock Destroyers (a take on Cock Destroyers) performed the song and won the challenge. The song is a crass pastiche of girl group dance-pop circa 2018, which means lots of loud synths, generous use of Auto-Tune, and skittery samples. The lyrics are self-referential, alluding to catchphrases and story lines of my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Drag Race UK episodes, which limits its appeal among listeners who aren’t familiar with the show. So, the hit single is featured on Frock 4 Life in two versions: the original that was a hit as well as a remix that smooths and streamlines the sound of the song, making it a slippery dance tune.

The rest of the (very short) album is a collection of campy tunes that make references to British queer culture, employ bawdy humour, and rely on the oversized personalities of the three queens. Of the Frock Destroyers, Baga Chipz has the biggest impact, but really the overuse of studio trickery and vocal gloss essentially renders the three singers’ voices identical to each other. It’s only when a queen gives herself a shoutout that it’s clear who is handling the solo verse.

But one doesn’t buy music spin-offs from RuPaul’s Drag Race to hear soulful, powerhouse vocals. For the most part, the music is meant to be cheeky and funny – similar to when a Real Housewife of wherever decides that she’s a “singer.” And though we won’t be confusing the Frock Destroyers with the Supremes anytime soon, but there’s a cheekiness to the songs that makes the record a solid affair.

The record’s first single, “Her Majesty” is a driving number in which the queens are simply boasting like cliched rappers. There’s a lot of punning about being a queen and being royal and the chorus is pretty catchy. The other single, the pulsing “Big Ben,” is about a one-night stand who is very well endowed. Those who watch Drag Race will understand that size queen jokes are pretty standard among the queens.

Though a lot of the comedy on the album is pretty base, there are some clever moments, especially in the two parodies: the Patti LaBelle “Stir It Up” soundalike “How’s The Lighting?” and the Spice Girls knockoff “FROCK4LIFE.” The former is a smooth, bouncy synth-pop song that does a credible job of telling the story of the queens’ sudden fame; the latter is a canny spoof of the Spice Girls “Spice Up Your Life.”

Frock 4 Life won’t be considered an important, but given the trash fire that was 2020, competent escapist entertainment is pretty valuable. And despite the reactionary backlash of the past four years, queer pop culture has enjoyed a renaissance of sorts, mainly due to the phenomenal success of Drag Race. And the three queens who comprise of Frock Destroyers are wildly talented, charismatic performers who deserve exposure and fame (as well as support given the hit live entertainment has suffered in the past year) Together, they put out a fun, funny record.

Rating: B-

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© 2020 Peter Piatkowski and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of PEG/World Of Wonder, and is used for informational purposes only.