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Pop - Released January 1, 2004 | Motown

Midway through the 2000s, theft with an artful nod and wink has become quite fashionable, and frilly is the new black. Combos like Chromeo and the Electric Six are finding mileage in long-shuttered, retrospectively laughable genres like synth pop and new romantic, and revisiting disco's most damning elements with a vigor for recombination. The results certainly elicit some snickering, but they can also be too cool -- or, for the insecure, too much of a guilty pleasure -- to ignore. New York's Scissor Sisters access these ideas and more on their debut full-length for Polygram. The eponymous release is a gleaming composite of epic, unabashedly pretty '70s songwriting and fancy-pants disco hedonism, reflecting the decadent dance-pop afterglow of all that George Michael wrought. "Lovers in the Backseat" is powered by the androgynous groove of Michael's "Everything She Wants." "Jealous glances/Now I'm lookin' for another song on the radio," they sing. "I'll take it to a side street/In the shadows you can touch one another/And I'll just watch the show." This flirty, satiny sexuality tingles in every lyrical inch of Scissor Sisters, as the Sisters save their subtlety for the songcraft. Opener "Laura" is a swaggering, absolutely irresistible update of vintage Stevie Wonder, illustrated with piano breaks and a honking sax. "Take Your Mama" chirps in a high register, a honky chateau dreamland of the Beta Band covering Elton John. All of this wackiness occurs before Scissor Sisters drop their dusky dancefloor version of "Comfortably Numb." They're hopped up over a twittering glitterball beat, referencing Frankie Goes to Hollywood and the Bee Gees even as the song functions as a Floyd redux. "I! I! I've become...'fortably numb!" As fun as all of this is (and the lip-smack glam of "Music Is the Victim" is very, very fun), the Sisters' revisionism can also get them in trouble. "It Can't Come Quickly Enough"'s dance-pop is too accurate, getting the bland side way too right, while "Return to Oz" cribs from Pink Floyd without the salve of artful dance club redirection. Still, these missteps are forgivable when pseudonyms like Del Marquis and Paddy Boom populate the band. Like some of their in-the-know peers, Scissor Sisters are happy to raid rock and pop's simpering peony past to soundtrack the parties and prurience of the silvery present day. © Johnny Loftus /TiVo
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Pop - Released June 25, 2010 | Polydor Records

Scissor Sisters completed and then scrapped an entire album before Night Work, not only ditching arrangements and mixes but an entire set of songs. When they re-entered the studio, it was with producer Stuart Price, whose work with artists from Madonna to Kylie to Pet Shop Boys to the Killers proved his hit-making potential -- and whose music, including the excellent Darkdancer as Les Rythmes Digitales, is one of the best love letters to the '80s dance scene ever produced. Price ably provides the '80s in full force, with obvious touchstones from Duran Duran to Giorgio Moroder to Prince to Kenny Loggins' "Footloose" to Pet Shop Boys. The entire group sound enlivened by the help, transcending the piano-heavy rock of Ta-Dah! to get closer to their debut's raft of double entendres (and single entendres). Scissor Sisters are record fans from way back (they covered Roxy Music between albums), so they structure nearly every element of Night Work to relive the heady days of AOR (aka album-oriented rock). Slotted in the third track is a power ballad aching with sincerity (and synths), the cover includes a Robert Mapplethorpe photo from 1980 above a title appearing in circa-1981 cursive script, and the songs are nearly straitjacket tight examples of the classic verse-chorus-verse format. Granted, Jake Shears and Babydaddy haven't written a set of songs to compete with their debut, but they beat Ta-Dah! by a few yards and sound more energized than they have in years. The songs and lyrics are naturally full of clubland tales and dancefloor come-ons, plus nearly endless metaphors for sex ("I need express delivery," "Gotta do the night work," "Sting me like a bee," "Might sneak up from behind," "I got a brand new hook to hang your hat," "I got some apples, if you want 'em you can grab 'em"). Classic AOR would be nothing without a few moments of sincerity, and the last track, "Invisible Light," shows the most evidence of honesty as well as innovation -- for once, Scissor Sisters aren't aping power-ballad emotion or double-entendre pop. It's a driving clubland epic encompassing love (love of dance and love of love), ending with a Sir Ian McKellen voiceover in tribute to the "bacchanal." © John Bush /TiVo
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Pop - Released January 1, 2006 | Polydor Records

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Pop - Released January 1, 2006 | Polydor Records

The first Scissor Sisters album was one of the catchiest debuts of the new millennium, but also one of the best-crafted. All camp on the surface but with plenty of substance underneath, it succeeded because the group wrote fantastic songs and backed them with excellent productions, usually in the vein of their biggest pop/dance heroes, from the Bee Gees to George Michael. If the follow-up, Ta-Dah, doesn't reach as high as its predecessor, it's certainly not the fault of some spot-on arrangements by head producer Babydaddy. Soundtracking his own mythical night at Studio 54 circa 1978, Babydaddy's Discoball Jazzfest Studio in New York City pumps out tracks gloriously in debt to the Bee Gees (of course), Elton John (although not on the track he contributes piano to), the Rolling Stones' brassy late-'70s stompers, electro-disco arena rock (if there is such a thing), and some sort of '70s disco hokum that features a very talented Gina Gershon on jew's-harp. Similarities to their debut are much easier to find than differences, although the songs aren't quite as memorable (except the single "I Don't Feel Like Dancin'") and Ta-Dah is slightly samey in comparison. (The debut ranged for influences as late as 1987, and flaunted a tougher, leaner sound.) Still, Scissor Sisters remain consummate masters of their material; the chord changes on the ballad "Land of a Thousand Words" defy listeners to not think of a glittering discoball, which is precisely the right image to be conjured. © John Bush /TiVo
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Pop - Released January 1, 2012 | Polydor Records

Scissor Sisters followed Night Work's dancefloor triumphs with Magic Hour, a set of songs that seem more comfortable when they don't feel like dancing. Not that the group doesn't try to keep Night Work's momentum going: Jake Shears, Ana Matronic, and company recruited Pharrell Williams and Calvin Harris to co-produce a couple of tracks, and invited Azealia Banks to rap on "Shady Love." It's just that, much like on Ta-Dah!, this time Scissor Sisters' skill at writing more introspective pop songs is that much sharper, and more prominent. Magic Hour shows its hand right away with the great opening track "Baby Come Home," possibly the band's most appealing single since "Don't Feel Like Dancin'" and definitely a showcase for the band's AM pop songwriting mastery -- they're still the best among the many acts who dig through '70s and early-'80s pop for inspiration, such as Mika, Chromeo, and Electric Guest. Pharrell helps the band attain breezy Bee Gees nirvana on "Inevitable," and Shears shines on "San Luis Obispo"'s sunny, strummy pop and "Best in Me," which puts a melody that would easily fit on one of Scissor Sisters' more retro tracks to a briskly contemporary arrangement. When the band picks up the pace, sometimes they work their kinetic magic, as on the aerodynamic "Keep Your Shoes On" and the Matronic showcase "Let's Have a Kiki," an anthem about low-rent fabulosity and justified cattiness. Magic Hour may not be as satisfying to fans who just wanna dance as albums like Night Work and Scissor Sisters were, but it should please those who enjoy the band's formidable songwriting skills as much as cutting a rug -- and at the very least, it reaffirms that Scissor Sisters still have more depth than some people give them credit for. [This version of Magic Hour features several bonus tracks that balance the album's reflective feel, including a pounding remix of "Let's Have a Kiki" by DJ Nita and the hyperactive "F*** Yeah."] © Heather Phares /TiVo
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Pop - Released January 1, 2012 | Polydor Records

Scissor Sisters followed Night Work's dancefloor triumphs with Magic Hour, a set of songs that seem more comfortable when they don't feel like dancing. Not that the group doesn't try to keep Night Work's momentum going: Jake Shears, Ana Matronic, and company recruited Pharrell Williams and Calvin Harris to co-produce a couple of tracks, and invited Azealia Banks to rap on "Shady Love." It's just that, much like on Ta-Dah!, this time Scissor Sisters' skill at writing more introspective pop songs is that much sharper, and more prominent. Magic Hour shows its hand right away with the great opening track "Baby Come Home," possibly the band's most appealing single since "Don't Feel Like Dancin'" and definitely a showcase for the band's AM pop songwriting mastery -- they're still the best among the many acts who dig through '70s and early-'80s pop for inspiration, such as Mika, Chromeo, and Electric Guest. Pharrell helps the band attain breezy Bee Gees nirvana on "Inevitable," and Shears shines on "San Luis Obispo"'s sunny, strummy pop and "Best in Me," which puts a melody that would easily fit on one of Scissor Sisters' more retro tracks to a briskly contemporary arrangement. When the band picks up the pace, sometimes they work their kinetic magic, as on the aerodynamic "Keep Your Shoes On" and the Matronic showcase "Let's Have a Kiki," an anthem about low-rent fabulosity and justified cattiness. Magic Hour may not be as satisfying to fans who just wanna dance as albums like Night Work and Scissor Sisters were, but it should please those who enjoy the band's formidable songwriting skills as much as cutting a rug -- and at the very least, it reaffirms that Scissor Sisters still have more depth than some people give them credit for. [This version of Magic Hour features several bonus tracks that balance the album's reflective feel, including a pounding remix of "Let's Have a Kiki" by DJ Nita and the hyperactive "F*** Yeah."] © Heather Phares /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 2004 | Motown

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Pop - Released January 1, 2012 | Polydor Records

Booklet
Scissor Sisters followed Night Work's dancefloor triumphs with Magic Hour, a set of songs that seem more comfortable when they don't feel like dancing. Not that the group doesn't try to keep Night Work's momentum going: Jake Shears, Ana Matronic, and company recruited Pharrell Williams and Calvin Harris to co-produce a couple of tracks, and invited Azealia Banks to rap on "Shady Love." It's just that, much like on Ta-Dah!, this time Scissor Sisters' skill at writing more introspective pop songs is that much sharper, and more prominent. Magic Hour shows its hand right away with the great opening track "Baby Come Home," possibly the band's most appealing single since "Don't Feel Like Dancin'" and definitely a showcase for the band's AM pop songwriting mastery -- they're still the best among the many acts who dig through '70s and early-'80s pop for inspiration, such as Mika, Chromeo, and Electric Guest. Pharrell helps the band attain breezy Bee Gees nirvana on "Inevitable," and Shears shines on "San Luis Obispo"'s sunny, strummy pop and "Best in Me," which puts a melody that would easily fit on one of Scissor Sisters' more retro tracks to a briskly contemporary arrangement. When the band picks up the pace, sometimes they work their kinetic magic, as on the aerodynamic "Keep Your Shoes On" and the Matronic showcase "Let's Have a Kiki," an anthem about low-rent fabulosity and justified cattiness. Magic Hour may not be as satisfying to fans who just wanna dance as albums like Night Work and Scissor Sisters were, but it should please those who enjoy the band's formidable songwriting skills as much as cutting a rug -- and at the very least, it reaffirms that Scissor Sisters still have more depth than some people give them credit for. [This version of Magic Hour features several bonus tracks that balance the album's reflective feel, including a pounding remix of "Let's Have a Kiki" by DJ Nita and the hyperactive "F*** Yeah."] © Heather Phares /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released December 2, 2014 | Yep Roc Records

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Pop - Released January 1, 2012 | Polydor Records