Album Reviews: Ta-Dah by Scissor SistersAll flashy outward appearances aside, are Scissor Sisters too serious for their own good? Ta-Dah finds the band continuing to explore the festive disco and campy classic rock terrain of their breakout eponymous debut, but thoughts of his own mortality seem to be getting the best of frontman Jake Shears. Lurking beneath the dance-friendly beats and kitschy Bee Gees harmonies is a stubborn lyrical gloom. "We were born to die," Shears sings in the merry-sounding "Intermission." But the fatalism is hardly confined to the intermission; there's a song about time running out, another about the lights going out, and even one about ultimately growing as grass under someone else's feet. Party!
Dancing shoes are still required at the door, though, and that's a very good thing. They're having fun with their success; instead of saluting their heroes, they now get to play alongside them (Elton John pops up on the piano bench on a few tracks). "I Don't Feel Like Dancin'" is the closest thing to a home run, revisiting some of the deliriously catchy elements of "Take Your Mama," although it may not have the shelf life of its predecessor. Ana Matronic, a vivacious component of the Scissor Sisters live show, barely registers on Ta-Dah, but she does make a nice impact on the brassy "Kiss You Off." "Ooh" and "Paul McCartney" stick to the glamorous disco throb and are easy, breezy additions to a party night's playlist. The group's general likeability goes a long way, but doesn't negate the intermittent disappointments. "She's My Man" is nearly a knockout with its Broadway-styled verses, but a lackluster, by-the-numbers chorus keeps it from fully taking off.
Although the hazy "The Other Side" is a dramatic ballad that works well -- and could probably be sped up and remixed for the clubs -- the strength of the Scissor Sisters ain't gravitas. The juxtaposition of happy music with melancholy words would be (and has been) better played by bands with more to say. Ta-Dah is another good time, but, like its predecessor, has its share of filler. On their third outing, they should be expected to up the ante. -- Adam McKibbin, The Red Alert
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