Album Review: RuPaul's Born Naked

In celebration of the excellent drag competition reality show, RuPaul's Drag Race, returning for its seventh season next week, I wanted to review some of RuPaul's recent contributions to club music. The drag superstar has been a notable presence on the scene since her debut with Supermodel of the World in 1993.  Though she released strong albums during the years in between, RuPaul failed to chart on the Billboard 200 after her debut until the release of 2014's wonderful Born Naked, which marked her highest charting album ever on both the 200 and Dance/Electronic Albums chart (where it landed at No 4).

It's not hard to understand why listeners gravitated to the record. While there are the expected novelty tracks ("Freaky Money," the butt-shaking "Geronimo," and drag strut anthem "Sissy That Walk"), RuPaul and coproducer/cowriter Lucian Piane give the album lots of heart on house tracks like "Dance With You" and "Modern Love." They also bring in ideal guest performers like Martha Wash on the stripped down duet "Can I Get an Amen?" and Frankmusik on the expansive and lovely "Fly Tonight," as well as Michelle Visage, Britney backup singer Myah Marie, and many other guests on various tracks. The record is also smartly sequenced, working in part because of Piane and RuPaul's carefully honed aesthetic but also because of the cheeky use of Miss Valerie Valentine as MC. Born Naked is a fun, glamorous, and warm dance album that any diva could be proud of.

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