A lot of times, when gay people hear "gay artist," they think, "This person must have no talent and their only hook is that they're gay." I didn't think that, but I wasn't necessarily expecting the best when someone named Ladyboi contacted me with his album, reminding me he had once had a part in the film American Dreamz that I reviewed. (I had to look back—bad movie, but he was fantastic in it.)
Listening to Ladyboi's O My God album, I was really taken aback by how good it is, and how unexpected the sound is. It's not some thrown-together piece of fluff crafted to get its singer onto gay reality TV or into the Twitterverse, it's a serious, seriously engaging pop record that deserves Ladyboi's own assessment that it sounds like "a combination of Eurythmics, Prince, George Michael and Elton John."
I have to admit I almost didn't listen to it all, having been turned off by the opening sounds of "Sun Goes Round." It's got an abrasive beginning that took me a few seconds to warm to before becoming the optimistic version of "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me." It has a glam rock feel; I was thinking a bit of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, too.
"Rollercoaster" is the second track and confirms the album's rocky vibe, while "Mystery" proves the boi (christened Tony Yalda) can sing well and with emotion. (The title track also whips out an unexpected falsetto.)
In my opinion, "Don't Go Tellin" is his best all-around song, vibrant and catchy and heartfelt, but "Blahk is the Day" is a fabulous, same-sex sonic cousin to "You Don't Own Me."
Ladyboi wants to be an openly gay artist from the start, and I think his work is something the gay community could embrace with no guilt, and with pride.