Earlier today I was asked why gay men are so protective of our women friends when we are out at bars together. I was at a loss for words, not because it's not true (Hey don't mess with our hags present or past, we will fuck you up lol) but because I had never really thought about what the real reason was. Is it because we know that when are girls are out with us, they just want a good time and to not worry about hooking up with some weird dude? Is it that we are just a bit more in touch with them than straight guys and can read the looks that they give us (you know HELP, RUN, SAVE ME!) or is it that we want to foster the queer (and I mean the real meaning) relationship a hag has with her gay (you know the love but not attracted to, hey wait I have had some gay relationships like that). Maybe though its that fact that you teach us soooo much, hell all of our idols are DIVAs (no I am not talking about Clay Aiken!!!!!) And any DIVA worth her grain of salt has a good ballad/ emotional song. OK what could be more campy or gay than a big bold ballad or tear jerker from a DIVA! Not much I can think of. Here are some of my more off beat favorites.
Liza Minelli - Rent
Now, now, now, this is a blog about camp, and who is a campier DIVA than Liza(with a Z). This track is a cover of the Pet Shop Boys song and adds so much more emotion to it. The original is a mid tempo dance number with the normal PSB inflection, a very deadpan delivery. They produced this version for Liza's a very torch Broadway song. A song about a relationship of convenience or a comfortable friendship where the people have fallen out of love long ago but are still "together" The lyrics were always there to convey the emptiness (and PSB's Version does convey the message) but you can tell that this woman has been there in the past. There is a loneliness that only a true DIVA can convey. Now I have never truly been a true fan of Liza (I don't care what you say I admit it) BUT this song and the album that it comes from"Results" is a true camp masterpiece. Liza + PSB + the crazy late 80's craze of putting a classic star with dance (Dusty, Tammy, etc.) is pure magic to me! Can bring enough tears to cause a gay rainbow(lol)
Jill Sobule - Mexican Wrestler
OK now Jill may not be a DIVA by any means, she is one of the truest singer/songwriters out there (IMHO). This song is as heart wrenching as it gets. About someone who KNOWS that the one they love does not love them back. Who has not been there? I know I have (and not always to who those who know me might think). The fact is she rights songs I can relate to. They are about the everyman(person), she can take the simplest act and create an entertaining song. She combines Witt and humor with her heartbreak. I LOVE how she hits on the games we play in relationships (and we all do, why can't we live honestly?) and the mistakes we make in our youth (no regrets right? live and learn from your mistakes) but with that sense of yearning that we all truly have no matter how hard we deny it. In the last few years Jill let Emma Roberts cover this song for her TV show Unfabuolous but while the singing was decent, this version did not convey the emotional intelligence of the song. In the right mood the album version could have you balling your eyes out! A true standout gem on a standout album.
Sinead O'Connor - Troy
I don't know how I can describe this song! Sinead channels rage, passion, anger, and almost every powerfully emotion in between into this song. This song for her must have been truly therapeutic to write (But damn, she was so pissed her hair fell out, lol) and to find out it was about her mother, metaphorically intertwined with the fall of Troy is pure magic. This song shows us how Sinead became the person she was when she first burst onto the scene all those many years ago, and why she fights her way through life. She truly conjures images of the classic Banshee's of yore with this track. I even love to death the revamped and remixed version of the song that came back a few years back
Bjork - Hyper-Ballad
Now there is no secret that I absolutely love Bjork for her camp value. The woman is secure enough in her self to wear a swan to the academy awards(and have you ever seen the MTV icons skit in madtv? Hilarious) and insane enough to attack a reporter (in her difference I'd done it too), so very self effacing. But lets be honest here, the magic is in the music. This song honestly is one of the most real love songs. To me so much about the give and take and sacrifice that any sort of relationship goes through, the learning process, the regrets from the loss of yourself, the odd things you do to keep a part of yourself separate (although I never have contemplated throwing myself off a cliff, maybe someone else) and things that you do to cover up or hide your flaws to not loose the one you love. Anyone (well maybe just most) who has been in love has had this happen to them, loosing yourself in that person and struggling to reclaim yourself while staying in that balance, not the cookie cutter version of love where, *bamf* everything is perfect. Truly heart wrenching and true.
Fiona Apple - Never Is A Promise
Fiona Apple is such an odd duck, but thats one of the reasons that I love her! This and Sleep to Dream are tied as my favs for her, but this song has a real emotion impact. There is such a longing in her voice, a knowingness that transcend her age, I used to gobble everything I could read on her when I was a teen. I remember the whole world is fucked up speech, and loved it. Most of all I remember the first time I saw the video for this song. It was always an easy front runner for my favs song before the single release, but with the video it becomes a complete package, the longing eyes yearning voice, and claustrophobic closeups on her while she flies alone in the streets of New York. This song could bring a tear (or buckets) to the eye of the butchest of lesbians.