Todrick Hall knows how to command attention. From creative covers on YouTube, choreography routines on RuPaul’s Drag Race, and his own original songs, Hall continues to snatch the spotlight. His latest EP, Haus Party Part One, features seven tracks of pure dance pop extravaganza – the perfect music to bump to as gay pride month draws closer.
The opening track, ‘Attention’ sets the tone for Todrick’s Haus Party very quickly and with high energy. As Hall commands his listeners to dance!, you’ll find it hard not to do as he says. Haus Party starts off strong, with ‘Attention’ boasting an infectious beat and clever wordplay on its verses.
Once Hall grabs all the attention, Haus Party continues with ‘I Like Boys,’ a song with delicious Middle East influences. With Todrick’s penchant for gender-bending and utilizing drag in his performances, it’s hard to imagine him not performing this song in some spicy belly-dancing attire. The song itself is nearly 3 minutes of pure fire, unapologetically saucy and sexy; Todrick no longer finds himself restrained or ashamed of his sexuality. “I like boys who like boys, mama” Hall confesses, adding a hilarious quip “I like when they grind real slow […] Tell dad I’m so homo.”
This clever mix of tongue-in-cheek and eroticism is expertly done and shows the skill Hall puts into his craft. It’s hard to find a lyric in ‘I Like Boys’ that isn’t catchy, whether it’s the subtle nod to The Waitresses or a Beauty and the Beast line — “By day his name’s Gaston, By night I call him Beast (Bitch).”
Things get more saccharine on the next track, ‘Glitter.’ The bubblegum track features a video sponsored by Google, with Todrick getting dressed up in drag and having a good time. ‘Glitter’ is a nicely done track, clearly the most mainstream on the Haus Party.
An unlikely collaboration finds its way to the Haus Party with ‘Chapstick’ featuring RuPaul’s Drag Race All Star winner and folk singer Trixie Mattel. The song is a fun and lighthearted track about demanding the finest and looking fierce, but Trixie’s inclusion does feel a bit out of place. The two have markedly different styles to their voice — obviously so, seeing as Trixie finds her niche in the folk music world. Lyrically, ‘Chapstick’ is just as clever and envelope-pushing as the rest of Haus Party, but it could’ve taken things a step further, perhaps, by infusing more of Trixie’s natural talents into the track. If songs like ‘Old Town Road’ can fuse country and rap, ‘Chapstick’ certainly could’ve managed to pull it off.
One of Haus Party‘s highlights come when Todrick takes his audience to church with ‘Amen,’ a high energy gay gospel song. “The freaks came to live it up, and the church said Amen,” Todrick sings, adding “Girls grab your woman, boys grab your man, love who the fuck you want, just ’cause you can.” ‘Amen’ is a beautiful and surprisingly poignant track about finding a safe space free of hatred and persecution on the dance floor.
After taking the gays to church, Todrick takes them to heaven with ‘Nails, Hair, Hips, Heels.’ This song perfectly captures gay culture in 2019, full of tongue pops, werks, slays and sashays. “I’m so fab I’m Gone with the Wind, bitch. Y’all 6-7-8-9s, I’m a ten, bitch.” The song’s music video impressively showcases Todrick’s dancing and choreography skills with an impressive amount of male dancers all living the fantasy the song narrates.
The otherwise exceedingly strong Haus Party comes to a close on a bit of a dull note with ‘Relove,’ an overly autotuned song that gets hampered down by production and vocal effects that Todrick’s naturally effective voice doesn’t need. With Haus Party so full of strong and vibrant tracks, it’s easy to forgive ‘Relove’ for being more generic than the others. With an EP this strong, even the lowest point still knocks other artists out of the water — especially in this genre.
Overall, Todrick Hall elevates the genre of dance and drag music with Haus Party. Songs like ‘I Like Boys’ and ‘Amen’ are fantastic songs full of gay pride, and the rest of the EP also features beautifully produced songs full of energy. The only real downside to Haus Party? There’s only 7 songs. Here’s hoping for even more dance-floor goodness on Part 2!