Red Hot

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RuPaul is always willing to smile for the camera, which doesn't allow him the lofty reputation gay disco legend Sylvester was graced with. Being campy doesn't get you much respect either, but the triumphant allegiance to gay dance music on Red Hot should, while the softer numbers round the album nicely. "Looking Good, Feeling Gorgeous" attempts to recapture "Supermodel"'s excitement, almost does, and ends up being no embarrassment. Luckily, nothing else on the album tries to recreate the signature tune. Instead, Red Hot relies on dramatic ballads and empowering dancefloor anthems that recall the glory days of disco. "Love Is Love" finds the singer able to write a "no matter how different we are, we're all the same" number with heart and conviction. "Are You Man Enough" isn't as sleazy as it sounds -- questioning the listener's confidence rather than just their prowess -- and the cover of Depeche Mode's "People Are People" is everything a dancefloor could hope for. While subduing the lighthearted camp and turning up the drama makes Red Hot a "not for everyone" album, the deepness of it pushes RuPaul's musical legacy more toward Sylvester's than Divine's, and that's progress.

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