Now in its seven season, RuPaul’s Drag Race has gone from some reality show on a gay TV channel (not a slur: it’s literally a gay TV channel) to an all-out cult. Members can be identified by their uniform of American Apparel tees and baseball caps saying ‘Not Today Satan’, their use of secret slang like ‘c’mon season 6 let’s get sickening’ or ‘your tone seems very pointed’, and by their tongue-popping, which seems to be some kind of secret mating call.
Their undisputed leader is an immortal demon from the planet Brewster Projects called RuPaul. No one is more popular than the figure they call Mama Ru, but each sect has their own demi-leader. The leader of my sect (on Thursdays we wear nails) is the creature formerly known as Alaska Thunderfuck 5000. This year she released an album called Anus, featuring odes to anus (‘Anus’), pussy (‘Pussy’) and people whose makeup is terrible (‘Your Makeup is Terrible’). It’s best song, one of our songs of 2015, is Beard. It is about facial hair, not those poor girls we dated when we were still ‘finding ourselves’. Here it is, in all its fuzzy-faced glory.
Most people, even most fans of the show, are not big followers of the music released by the contestants of Drag Race. For every work of glam genius there is an ill-advised EDM experiment. However, occasionally the mini-genre produces a star that in a more interesting world would be a genuine stadium-packing pop star. Alaska is one of those stars, and Beard shows you everything you need to know as to why.
In its essence, it is a song about gender confusion as a weapon, like David Bowie’s ‘Rebel Rebel’ if it was a poppers-sniffing club song. Plus, it has the first noted use of the word ‘Pharisees’ as a rhyme in a pop song, which makes it a song of the year if nothing else does. It is also the perfect distillation of Thunderfuck, with genuine pop sensibilities filtered through her uniquely weird sense of humour and a pair of stained laddered stockings. If it wasn’t a song about beards, you could easily see a ‘Blackout’-era Britney doing justice to the song, although she wouldn’t be able to plumb the weird depths like Alaska can.
With the smart money betting on Alaska featuring and taking the crown of Drag Race’s second All Stars season, 2016 could be an even bigger year than any year Alaska has had since she was robbed of the Drag Superstar title in 2013. And if that means more music along the lines of Your Makeup is Terrible (my song of 2014), Hieeee, Nails and Beard, then that can’t be a bad thing.
So glory to the beard, glory to Alaska Tunderfuck and glory to the single best thing to come out of ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ since girls learning how to blend their makeup from men.
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