Written By: Filip Teovanovic
Originality: (4.0 / 5) Vocals/Flow: (5.0 / 5) Lyrics: (3.0 / 5) Production: (3.0 / 5) Average: (3.8 / 5)
Before becoming a world class drag superstar, Danny Noriega was a contestant on American Idol. The fans of the show witnessed the explosion of charismatic supernova in front of their eyes, but the mainstream media didn’t know what to do with such a queer bundle of energy. Meanwhile, Danny created his drag character Adore Delano and went on a never-ending venture of crafting his artistic persona, perfecting his vocal and climbing up the rigid walls of showbizz. It wasn’t until the 6th season of Rupaul’s DragRace that Adore Delano started enjoying tremendous popularity, particularly among younger generation of angsty millennials. Following the successful appearance on the show (she was placed second in the grand finale), Adore Delano finally onset her music career with the debut Til Death Do Us A Party, which is a pun referring to her hyped catchphrase.
While her first two albums were oriented towards commercial electropop infused with sleazy house beats, Adore’s third album is a pleasant grunge surprise. That’s right. This drag queen is operating in metal and grunge niche now. What’s even more striking is that this Nirvana and Marilyn Manson inspired record is phenomenal. No one will be indifferent listening to Whatever.
First thing that catches your attention is Adore’s powerhouse vocal that is now enriched with admiring growls and screams. She did not give up on her Aguilera-style melismas, rather added a metal flavor to them, which resulted in many idiosyncratic interpretations. The best example of this amalgamation is “Pretty Boys Cry,” a rock ballad that showcases how a simple melody can turn out to be mesmerizing If the singer pulls out all of his tricks out. Adore is singing from her guts here. You know how they say I only have eyes for you well you better be looking back at me babe. Everytime the chorus comes, Adore makes sure that is slightly improvised. The twists she is able to deliver with her vocal are something that will eventually make her a global superstar. Mark my words.
The album unfolds with “Adam’s Apple” which proves that Adore is a self-aware artist, no matter how obnoxious her public behavior appears to be. “27 Club” talks about how all of the legends went to heaven when they were 27, which is how old she is now. I hope this is not a suicide note. “Butterfly” falls somewhere between Good Charlotte and Blink 182. Another standout is “Whole 9 Yards,” a song that served as the second single and showed Delano in her Marylin Manson mode.
Both the music and the manner of vocal interpretation are pure metal rock. The same applies to “Negative Nancy.” The rest of the album falls a bit flat, but it never stops shocking you with a fact that this is a drag queen who created it. Adore Delano couldn’t resist but providing two house remixes at the end of the album, which I find completely unnecessary considering that we already know why she can do in that domain.
However, Whatever is far from whatever. It is a record from an artist who is yet to experience her greatest success.