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100 Albums: "Fire" by Electric Six


Kurt is going through his favorite records. Read the explainer or view the master list.

Artist: Electric Six
Title: Fire
Released: 2003
Genre: sophomoric disco-punk


Electric Six is only one or two steps removed from being a novelty act. The man who sings and does the bulk of the songwriting goes by the stage name Dick Valentine, and that should give you a good feeling for the band's aesthetic. Their songs are mostly about--to the extent that they're about anything at all--partying, sex, and drugs, but generally on very silly terms. They found success with the single Danger! High Voltage (the slightly-NSFW video couldn't be embedded, but you should absolutely go watch it right now) that may or may not have featured a pre-fame Jack White on backup vocals. Sources conflict.

Fire is the band's only successful album, although they've kept going, releasing a total of 14 studio albums. I saw them in concert a few years ago and Gay Bar just about brought the house down. The sound is bombastic and slutty--you can practically hear Valentine slinking his way around the mic stand as he sings. The music is rooted in disco and funk, but the sound is filled out with huge rock guitars and flashy leads. You get penetrating lyrics like "I was born a dancer in your disco of fire" from She's White or "You can't ignore my techno" from Synthesizer. You get provocative song titles like Improper Dancing and Naked Pictures (Of Your Mother). It's a big silly hard-rockin' groove train that gets by mostly on moxie and bravado, and it's a lot of fun to listen to. It's the kind of record where the singer shouts out "Solo!" more than once. And if that sounds like something you might enjoy, then you probably will.

Side note: a surprising number of karaoke places have Gay Bar in their catalog, and it's a show-stopper.

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