The Blonde & Pink Albums

Trixie Mattel

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The Blonde & Pink Albums Review

by Matt Collar

Drawing upon her love of '60s- and '70s-style power pop, drag star Trixie Mattel dives into the ebullient, escapist fun of her 2022 double-LP The Blonde & Pink Albums. Long before rising to fame as the winner of RuPaul's Drag Race in 2018, Mattel (aka Brian Firkus) was an aspiring singer/songwriter with a sound steeped in '90s acoustic pop, country, and early-2000s alt-rock. As a drag performer, Mattel has made music an integral aspect of her work, juxtaposing her high-camp visual style with her knack for folky, country-tinged balladry, as on 2020's Barbara and 2018's Two Birds, One Stone. While there are certainly folky acoustic moments here, Blonde & Pink is primarily a burst of pure guitar-pop, unapologetically evoking the infectious rock and new wave of iconic groups like Cheap Trick, Blondie, and the Romantics. Mattel explicitly underlines the influences with a faithful cover of Cheap Trick's classic "I Want You to Want Me," one that doesn't so much reinvent the song as re-frame it, pulling it into Mattel's aesthetic and transforming it into an anthem for drag queen empowerment. It's a wry trick she pulls off from the start with her own "Goner," a breezy, '90s-meets-'70s acoustic pop anthem in the Sheryl Crow fashion that celebrates the cheeky, can-do drag queen pageant attitude. Mattel sings, "She's so hypnotizing/She's so stunning/She's out here monetizing, oh honey hi/Guess I never really saw it coming/She got the game again, so stunning." Equally engaging tracks follow, including "Boyfriend," "C'Mon Loretta," and "Love You in Hi-Fi." Mattel also pairs with singer Michelle Branch for the twangy "White Rabbit'' and dips back into her folky roots on "This Town" with Shakey Graves. Part of Mattel's appeal is that while her drag style is often over-the-top high-concept glam, her music is charmingly straightforward and The Blonde & Pink Albums are hooky, sugar-coated pop fun.

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