Various Artists

This Way Out

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This Way Out is a first-class collection of urban/edge gay and lesbian music. Compilations are usually a mixed bag, but this 1995 platter shines in each of the areas it seeks to expose. For dance music, there are the feel-good raves of "Entangled," and the techno/house groove of "Give Me More," and the spellbinding dance-popper "Drag Queen," by John-Frederick (a self-described Radical Faerie anarchist rock-diva Act Up disco-punk wonderboy). The riot grrl grunge of Special Head fits neatly between the cracks, with rock highlights by Eclipse, a compelling teenage love story about childhood secrets by Christian Johnson, the utter spunk of ungenreable artist Phideaux Xavier, several other scorching treats, and a fine closing techno-ballad, "I'm Gone."

Artwork, lyrics and photographs are all first-rate. This is the kind of project that goes a long way in showing that gay music is a legitimate genre which, when approached professionally, can yield fantastic results. While many artists are struggling to define just what gay music is, This Way Out and the people at Trip Records have taken a definite lead in pointing up a successful direction for the fledgling genre. Producers John-Frederick and Tom Bennett Davis have produced a fantastic album that is sure to become a hit hip gay cult classic.

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