Review: RuPaul – You’re a Winner, Baby

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Let’s face it, RuPaul is basically the drag queen version of Cher. They both lowkey can’t sing (dramatic autotune being their best friend), will continue to produce gay party anthems no matter how old they get, and we will continue to eat it up whilst questioning our sanity for lowkey loving it. RuPaul’s newest mini-album certainly ticks all of those boxes, with You’re a Winner, Baby featuring some bangers, and some very questionable tunes.

This 8-track album was released the same day as RuPaul’s new Netflix show AJ and the Queen, in which RuPaul plays struggling drag queen Ruby Red. It was a no-brainer that RuPaul would therefore have to feature a song relating to this, which is where ‘Ruby Is Red Hot – Kummerspeck Redux’ comes in. Though this song is fairly repetitive, its use of extreme autotune and a club-style beat makes could easily make it an 80s gay club/bar anthem. The lyrics literally consist of “Ruby is red hot / hot fire nonstop / who got what I got? / nobody, nobody”, but somehow manages to last almost 3 minutes and isn’t boring. ‘Blessed’ is another song that takes on this strategy, having a backing that’s clearly aimed at the club scene (and works), and lyrics “i feel blessed” amongst about 3 others repeated for the 3 and a half minute song.

Obviously capitalising on his hit show RuPaul’s Drag Race, many of the songs on this album dictate the well-known moments and catchphrases of the show. For instance, ‘Condragulations’ sings about “all the years / all the preparation” that led queens to gain the much-sought phrase of “condragulations”. Again, the song isn’t anything to write home about, but it’s RuPaul after all so what can we expect? However, the song is somewhat reminiscent of Britney Spear’s iconic ‘If You Seek Amy’, which is an absolute banger, so RuPaul deserves a round of applause for that.

‘Bring Back My Girls’ is another song narrating the queens’ experience on Drag Race, singing of the moment where they go back stage awaiting RuPaul’s call of “bring back my girls”. Beginning “she goin’ back to the Werk Room / rethink her life / on the alcohol / vodka and cranberry, thank you, doll” which reminds fans of the iconic backstage moments shown in Untucked, especially the queens fumbling to reach their straws without smudging their lippy. Lines like “untucking backstage ‘fore Mama calls” and “is she gon’ lipsync and lose it all?” further show how this talk-tap piece by Ru depicts the backstage and tense lipsync moments of the show.

The best song of the album is hands-down ‘Super Sexy Lady’. This song again would fit better a few generations back, with its funky synths and other 80s-esque intrumentals. It also serves as a song of empowerment, telling listeners that they’re  “a lady, a super sexy lady / never let nobody tell you that you’re not the one”, with its strut-worthy backing making this a power song to prance to. Though the song is more than likely about RuPaul herself, considering the high-regard and obsession she holds herself in, at least we can all pretend it’s a song about us that we can feel powerful too.

The first hit of the album, ‘London’,  is a bit of a love-hate moment. RuPaul’s vocals, as always, are not the highlight of this song, but it does have a club vibe again that you can’t help grooving to. Obviously written on or around his time in the UK for filming of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, the verses seem to just name landmarks, whilst the chorus says London over-and-over again. For instance, he dodgily sings “Big, Big Ben, the London Eye / is watching over me” and of course has to through in the ever-British “if that’s your cup of tea”. It’s definitely a song you will have to zone out of to enjoy, or just straight up skip I’m afraid. But it does sound similar to a very old, and unknown song of his, ‘Back To My Roots’ – however it could never challenge this iconic and annoying catchy tune.

Finally, Ru’s ‘Birthday Song’ is definitely a contender for the already overplayed birthday songs. Knowing the lucrative gain of producing a birthday song, especially one that succeeds in being catchy as his does, it’s a shock RuPaul didn’t attempt to make this extra dollar sooner. As with all good birthday songs, it repeats similar lyrics and remains the same musically throughout. Though verses like “ice cream kisses and a candy smile / cupcake wishes for miles and miles” are a bit odd and kids tv show-ish, the chorus “happy birthday, happy birthday, baby / happy birthday to you” is annoying catchy, making this a strong contender for your birthday-song of choice to be awoken to on your special day.

RuPaul’s You’re a Winner, Baby really isn’t something to rush to listen to. Though it has a few tunes which could’ve been played in 80s gay clubs, or possibly by chance in clubs today, it’s pretty much same-old RuPaul. If you’re bored and have a spare 25 minutes on your hands, then but it on as background music, but you really won’t be missing out if you never hear this album. Though he may try to be Cher through his dodgy autotune and attempted gay-anthems, this album is certainly nowhere near comparable to such a queen.

RuPaul’s You’re A Winner, Baby is out now via RuCo, Inc.

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