What It Sounds Like: Lady GaGa transforming into a man and fronting a garage/glam band.
After being booked as the opening band for Lady GaGa’s The Monster Ball tour, some executive should have gotten a serious promotion, because Semi Precious Weapons were the perfect choice. Look at these guys. Listen to their music. It’s a garage version of Lady GaGa. There’s no two ways around it. Now, if you’re not a Lady GaGa fan (which I am not), I would challenge you to forget all that information that I just told you, forget that cover that you see up above, and try to judge this from another viewpoint and read this rest of this review. Throw your preconceived ideas away. Although on the other hand, if you are somehow a Lady GaGa fan, you’ve already got a winner on your hands. Stop reading and go buy this.
Now, the fact that I’ve said someone should have gotten a serious promotion doesn’t mean I endorse everything that’s going on here. It’s a difficult thing to balance as a reviewer between personal preference, artistic integrity, and someone actually accomplishing what they have set out to do.
As far as “setting out and accomplishing what they have set out to do”, Semi Precious Weapons excel with flying colors. This is a gender-bending free for all that takes a progressive stance on sexuality and rock ‘n’ roll. As I said – Lady GaGa’s counterpart. Agree or disagree with their mission – I don’t really care, as it’s not the focal point of this review. I’m stating that these guys are targeting a market, and they’re hitting it – hard. Success for that.
Before I get into the music, we have to address these lyrics. Personally, Justin Tranter and I probably arn’t going to be into the same things. He’s not writing for me, nor does he want to. It’s an interesting segment, to combine these lyrical themes with this type of music. I’m no Lady GaGa fan, not even in the slightest, but I can listen to this – and it’s not that hard for me to do so. I feel kind of unique on that end – so it’s hard for me to give this my complete recommendation. It’s really going to be a hit-or-miss record for you, regardless of your musical preference.
I’m off track.
Take, for example, the first line from the first five tracks on the record:
I can’t pay my rent / But I’m f—ing gorgeous (from Semi Precious Weapons)
Violence is glamor / I’m glamorous / Put a diamond in it / Put a diamond in it / Put a diamond in it and bite down! (from Put A Diamond In It)
It’s not my fault I look better in her party dress / It’s not my fault that you left your slutty girlfriend (from Magnetic Baby)
Dance me / Face to face / While I finger your ribcage (from Statues Of Ourselves)
Sticky with champagne / It’s okay / It’s her birthday / Sticky! (from Sticky With Champagne)
Now, let me tell you a couple things about myself – give you a little insight into the world of Brandon. First off, I can pay my rent, because I am a responsible human being who is in touch with reality. I don’t want to be classified as gorgeous, and I don’t really think that violence is glamorous. Surprisingly, I don’t look that good in any sort of party dress (regardless of color or cut), and I don’t want to be with a woman who left her slutty (or non-slutty) girlfriend. Nor do I think that a woman that left her slutty or non-slutty girlfriend would think I was a good companion for her either. There are better things to enjoy on your lover than fingering their ribcage, and being sticky with champagne on my birthday doesn’t sound that appealing – it sounds very uncomfortable, and like I would need a shower, ASAP.
I say it again: Justin Tranter and I are different people. His lyrics do not appeal to me, and again, nor does he want them to.
Now instrumentally, there’s no denying some of the catchy tunes here, and I have zero shame in saying that I don’t listen to this record much, but when I do, I appreciate it . If a rock ‘n’ roll / glam / garage mashup with some somewhat theatrical vocals sounds appealing to you, you’ve found a winner. I think it sounds pretty cool, actually. All those lyrics that I mentioned a little bit ago? The songs are catchy, and actually, shockingly, know how to rock out as well. I don’t want to put a diamond anywhere in my mouth, but when the guitars swagger through in the chorus, I’m absolutely nodding my head to the tune. I can get into Justin’s delivery without a doubt. It’s theatrical for sure – but not like another Justin that I like a whole lot more (Hawkins, from The Darkness). I Could Die sports a ripping guitar solo three quarters of the way through that demands some rock ‘n’ roll credit. Leave Your Pretty To Me is a straight 80’s power ballad (a little less power than I would have hoped for). Rock And Roll Never Looked So Beautiful? I bet it’s explosive live. It’d be a great closer to one of their shows. Another freaking ripping, squealing solo! I’d go see it, no question at all – I would love for these dudes to come to Nashville to see how this translates into a live setting.
To close this out, let me attempt to summarize.
The music is freaking fun. Call it a guilty pleasure or not; I’m completely cool with it. I’m sure someone may read this review, know my overall musical style, and think I’m out of my mind, but hey, the truth is the truth.
The lyrics are written for someone that is not me. I cannot connect, and that’s the major downfall of this record personally. They connect to a specific demographic – I’m far from it. The lyrics are so contrived and strained to be progressive, it’s the main reason this record is losing points from me. Some people like to push boundries simply for the sake of pushing them.
The vocals themselves though, bringing these lyrics on? Well-delivered, case closed. The dude can sing for real.
I can only hope he isn’t wearing a short, party dress if I ever see them live.
If you had to listen to two tracks: Put A Diamond In It / I Could Die