Jake Shears - Last Man Dancing

Regular price $ 39.99

Dancefloor wizardry is so expected of Jake Shears that it made the country, classic rock, and New Orleans homages of his self-titled debut album that much more surprising -- and effective. He returns to dance music old and new on his second album, and two decades after he and the rest of Scissor Sisters turned "Comfortably Numb" into a mirrorball spectacle, Shears still finds ways to make club-oriented music that's equally catchy and innovative. He even splits Last Man Dancing's halves along those lines, beginning the album with self-contained bursts of instant-gratification disco-pop that are flashy and heartfelt at the same time. His timing couldn't have been better: When Last Man Dancing was released, disco was at a peak of popularity, with stars like Dua Lipa and Beyoncé reimagining it in their own ways. Another Shears song that sounds like a long-forgotten favorite on first listen, "Too Much Music" pays loving homage to classics like Vicki Sue Robinson's "Turn the Beat Around," not just with its surging groove but its unshakeable faith in music's power to heal and liberate. These immaculately crafted tracks offer an impressive amount of range, spanning the satirically self-worshiping "Really Big Deal" ("I'll make you think that you've seen God/But I just call it a face" is a standout lyric); the swaggering heartache of the title track, which feels like the next chapter of the story Shears started with "Don't Feel Like Dancin'"; and "Voices," a glittering collaboration with longtime friend Kylie Minogue (another artist spinning the 2020s disco revival into artistic gold).

Just when it feels like the album might be almost too neatly constructed, the party really gets started on Last Man Dancing's second half. Shears trades tidy pop for hypnotic, sweaty songs with a mix-like flow and acts more like a DJ, ceding the majority of the vocal duties to his well-chosen guests. Cabaret singer Amber Martin is more than diva enough to take "Devil Came Down the Dance Floor" to supernatural heights, while the relentless "Doses" is a showcase for the commanding tones of Big Freedia (whose vocals were recorded before her attention-getting turn on Beyoncé's Renaissance). However, the album's wildest moment belongs to Jane Fonda: "Radio Eyes," a psychedelic, sci-fi dance-pocalypse, relies on her spoken-word delivery to provide some stability as it moves from euphoric to dystopic. It's so striking that the album's actual finale, the spy movie theme in the making "Diamonds Don't Burn," feels almost like an afterthought. There might not be an album big enough to contain all the facets of Shears' talent, but Last Man Dancing's abundance of style and imagination should keep fans guessing -- and, of course, dancing.

Limited Edition Orange Marble Vinyl

1 Too Much Music 4:38
2 Do the Television 4:38
3 Voices 4:26
     feat. Kylie Minogue
4 I Used to Be in Love 3:28
5 Really Big Deal 2:52
6 Last Man Dancing 4:51
7 8 Ball 4:30
     feat. Le Chev
8 Devil Came Down the Dance Floor 3:44
     feat. Amber Martin
9 Mess of Me 4:14
10 Doses 2:54
     feat. Big Freedia
11 Radio Eyes 5:29
12 Diamonds Don't Burn 4:19