Divine - Shoot Your Shot- The Divine Anthology [Hot Shot Records/Cherry Red - 2016]It’s fair to say that Divine was one of the most known & celebrated drag queens of 1970’s & 1980’s. He first came to notoriety in the film’s American transgressive/cult film maker John Walters- appearing in titles such as Pink Flamingos, Female Trouble, Polyester, along with more mainstream Walters films such as Hairspray. But he also had a singing career which ran from the late 1970’s til his death in the late 80’s, which saw him score a few hits along the way. This two disc CD set brings together all of his singles, along with a selection of album tracks & rarities.
The two disc set comes in a eye catching red, white, and blue colour schemed digpak- which of course takes in various pictures of Divine in full drag queen get-up. You also get a colourful 16 page inlay booklet taking in more pictures, single artwork, and a six page write-up about Divines career & impact.
Sound wise much of Divine’s output was a campy & tongue-in-cheek blend of disco, synth pop, and dance with often very homoerotic themes. This Anthology features in all twenty seven tracks, and nearing two & a half hour of play-time. You can’t really say his sound was verysonically varied, ground-breaking, or multi-layered; but as trashy (yet knowing) entertainment it was often memorable & sleazily charming.
Most of the songs here are based around the following elements: up-front & pulsing layers of synth craft, rapidly gyrating & pumping electro rhythms that blend disco & dance beats together. Macho male & odd soulful female backing vocals. And of course centre stage are Divine’s vocals which are mix of sassy semi- talky, drag queen swoons & croons, onto shouty sing-song sleaziness. A few tracks adding in elements like guitar, and sometimes we get an electro-filed rock ’n’ roll, but mostly the tracks here stick to a fairly firm sonic template.
As you’d expect from a Cherry Red sub-label like Hot Shot Records a lot of love, thought & care has been put in the packaging of this two disc set. And it’s great to have all of Divine’s work in one place. So if you’re a fan of Divines film work, or just a fan of campy/ tongue-in-cheek dance ‘n’ disco this is well worth a look.Roger Batty