It’s been a long ride for Alaska.
Since her comparatively unrecognisable beginnings in the public eye, she has metamorphosed into what you see today: a refined and slick all-around performer; bizarre yet sultry glamour puss and chameleoness of wardrobe and hair (always hair, never wig).
Last month saw the release of Alaska’s debut album, Anus, which is a musical culmination of Alaska’s signature; the bizarre, the ethereal and the crude. Where else would you hear the lyrics: "I love your pussy, I think you're pretty, I love your pussy, don't you?" to a backdrop of light pop?
The tracks are a catchy mixture of genres, incorporating the drag music go-to EDM, upbeat bubble-gum pop and even hip-hop (‘Gimme All Your Money’, featuring a surprisingly competent rap by Drag Race chum Laganja Estranja, would not sound out of place rattling the windows of a hood-cruising muscle car).
The inevitable clubbing tracks are taken care of with aplomb (‘Your Makeup Is Terrible’, ‘Best Night Ever’, ‘Nails’, 'This Is My Hair' and ‘Hieeee’), although 'Beard' is a standout track; an ode to facial hair - "The beard would come to be revered and feared throughout the galaxy" - which conjures up images of sweating, bearded, trussed-up-in-leather gentlemen gyrating against one another in a humid nightclub somewhere in Berlin (at least in my head anyway, although I do spend a lot of time thinking about sweaty German men with beards as it is).
Closing tracks ‘The Shade of It All’, ‘Legendary’ and ‘Killer’ showcase Alaska’s vocals (this bitch has some pipes) and offer up a different side to her outside of the comedy. ‘Killer’ in particular, although structurally simple, expose a raw and vulnerable side to Alaska’s personality and the lyrics tell a story without relying on catchphrases and one-liners.
Since its release, Anus has peaked at Number 1 in the iTunes Dance Chart – two years after Alaska’s appearance on Drag Race proving that this is not just another bandwagon drag album.
It’s obvious that a lot of time and effort has gone into the production of this thing (it sounds amazing) and it’s definitely one of the more competent efforts of any Drag Race alumni.
A (brown) STAR IS BORN.
Verdict: buy the fuck out of it immediately.
And follow me on Twitter: @daleljfox
Anus is available on Amazon, iTunes and Google Play. CD is available to pre-order at Alaska’s website.
I caught up with Alaska and we talked Anus:
Describe Anus in five words or less.
Drag music is all the rage right now. How does Anus stand out from the crowd?
I'm very glad for all the drag music this year. It's a very exciting time and I'm glad we're getting attention and having the music industry take notice of our community. We're all doing our own thing, and making music from a unique standpoint, so we all stand out from the crowd, I think.
Will you be doing an Adore Delano/Beyoncé - making a video for each track?
That would be nice! I love making videos. They're my drug of choice. We'll see how it goes.
The track ‘Legendary’ - were the lyrics based on a real life experience and why did you match such a macabre subject with an upbeat track?
There was a flight that got really bumpy. Like, REALLY bumpy. And I remember feeling really calm and at peace in that moment. I was flying alone, and there wasn't even anyone next to me, and it's like, we are born alone and we die alone, and that's okay. That's the nature of things. The song is about coming to terms with the fact that life is fleeting, so let's have a good time and go roller-skating while we're spinning on this crazy blue planet.
Was creating the album hard work?
Yes. But it's very rewarding. I love being in the studio, and I love the creativity and the work that goes into making music. We were really intensive and it was stunning.
How involved were you in the creation of the tracks?
Very. I wrote almost every word. I co-wrote 'Beard' with Ashley Levy. And a few lines here and there had input from a lot of people but I was really opinionated about lyrics and melodies and things.
Are you excited about having an actual CD too? Will it be in stores?
Yes I'm excited! They're available for pre-order now on my website alaskathunderfuck.com.
You seem to be involved in a lot of different music projects at the moment. Has that been your goal since appearing on Drag Race?
I love doing drag because it really allows me to have my hands in all sorts of media. I get to make music, and make videos, and write, and act, and sing, and perform, and do a radio show, and all of these things. I'm glad I get to be a Renaissance (wo)man and do all these things.
Your videos are immense… How involved with the conceptual side of things and your looks in the videos are you?
I think the videos are most successful when it's a collaboration. I like working with filmmakers who have a strong vision, and then I bring my strong vision, and we collide and make something special and amazing. I usually do my own makeup and hair. On 'This Is My Hair' we had amazing stylists pull from Marco Marco and Lip Service and other stunning designers.
Which track means the most to you personally?
I wrote 'Killer' the night I found out my LA drag queen friend passed away. I was full of sadness and anger and emotion and I didn't know what to do with myself. I didn't want to go out or be around other people but I didn't want to be alone, so I wrote a song. She was a really kind person and her passing was really sudden and a total surprise and I hope that the take-away message of the song is to be kind to each other and appreciate one another while we're here because you never know when it can all end.
Will you be touring the album?
Yes! I'm doing a show performing the entire album in Chicago at Roscoe's on July 28, which I'm really excited about. I'm going to be bringing in a few VERY special guests and I can't wait. Plus I'm probably coming to a city near you. Check out my tour dates on alaskathunderfuck.com and I'll see you on the dance floor.
Anus is available NOW on iTunes, Amazon and Google Play.