Tuesday, April 10th, 2018

Trixie Mattel – Break Your Heart

Trixie… you’re safe.


Alfred Soto: This drag queen takes advantage of an arrangement indebted to Robert “Mutt” Lange’s production of Shania Twain: “country” element (in this case fiddle) as hook, dance programming, “Just What I Needed” carousel keyboards, indelible verse-chorus-verse. Unfortunately, her voice is as flexible as moist coffee grounds. “I never meant to pull you apart” is more poignant than she knows — no one is moved.

Katherine St Asaph: Shania Twain’s Up! — following up the success of “That Don’t Impress Me Much”‘s dance remix — was two albums entirely: a red pop version and a green country version (plus a blue “world” version, which most people forget with reason). “Break Your Heart” is like the green version of a crisp 2:30 punk-pop song — and I do mean green version, the Pantone Greenery version, fiddles cranked to neon, Dolly aspirations to max. Thing is, the red version of Up! was better.

Nortey Dowuona: Thin, chugging popping guitars scream past bland, rigid radio country drums and struggling violin stabs and out of place drum programming while Trixie flops on top with a bland, thin purr.

Jonathan Bradley: The fiddles are mostly decoration; “Break Your Heart” sounds like a pop-punk band getting ready to unveil its latest mature career reinvention. What surprised me was how straight — as in conventional — it sounds for a single from a Drag Race alumna, though perhaps country is itself a form of camp. What disappointed me was how Mattel’s weak and listless singing voice so fatally undermines what is otherwise a tightly written tune. 

Will Adams: My main complaint with Drag Race affiliated music is that it fails to rise above novelty, so it’s refreshing to see a queen be this invested in her craft — in Trixie Mattel’s case, airy country tunes. Unfortunately, her plainspoken vocal is a poor fit for a song with this much power pop aspiration; the chorus soars, she falls flat.

Anthony Easton: What surprises about this (and perhaps shouldn’t) is how clean and clear a honky tonk voice Mattel has, and how explicit a point of view. Like most drag done very well, it is both an example of a form, and a burlesque of the form, a quality that can only be successfully done with extreme knowledge of the genre. 

Edward Okulicz: Mattel’s love of country is genuine, but this could still have been a pop pastiche of any genre. He’s definitely competent at writing and singing a song, but not really a lot more. “Break Your Heart” is pretty thin and short without being punchy or particularly clever, emotionally affecting, funny, or sympathetic. I don’t pretend to say that’s a definitive list of country traits, but just about every country song I like is at least one of them.

Andy Hutchins: Obvious: the space for non-hegemonic voices in country music — especially A.K.M. — ought to be enormous and diverse, especially because few genres need a breeze blowing against the prevailing wind more. Less obvious: that means there should be room for a drag queen doing a not-particularly-queer wan take on late-’90s Jo Dee Messina’s swaggering kiss-offs, one that barely distinguishes itself with verses that can’t escape their cliches, a painful electric bridge, and a restrained chorus that seems largely to be limited because Brian Firkus can’t really hit notes that would soar here, and for that to be generally unremarkable.

Alex Clifton: I want to care more about this song. I like Trixie, I want more queer country music, and I appreciate the fact that Trixie’s gone an entirely different musical route than four-to-the-floor club music. But I’m left feeling “eh.” It’s fine, it’s catchy, but Trixie’s singing voice feels like it doesn’t do her larger-than-life character any justice, and I suspect I wouldn’t listen to this song if she hadn’t done it.

Reader average: [2] (1 vote)

Vote: 0   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10

One Response to “Trixie Mattel – Break Your Heart”

  1. Frustrating that this is the lead single, as it’s easily the slickest and least country track on either ‘Two Birds’ or ‘One Stone’.