Dorian Electra is an American musician and performance artist. They identify as gender fluid, meaning they do not conform to a specific gender in the assumed social spectrum.
Electra first gained notoriety for their music video, ‘”I’m in Love with Friedrich Hayek”‘ back in 2010. (Hayek was an Austrian economist for those who, like me, didn’t know) This project then built on that educational format with releases like, ‘The Dark History of High Heels’ and ‘Our Musical Old to the Clitoris’ on the women’s lifestyle and entertainment publication, Refinery 29. What began as a piece of light-hearted folly with educational intent grew into a strong platform on which to sonically illustrate gender and identity politics through saturated production and bold lyrics.
Electra released their debut album, ‘Flamboyant’ in 2019 which is packed with clever and funny confrontational pop music, autotuned to perfection. As soon as I heard the blend of electronic genres from an old school cheesy Eurovision tempo to 90s R’n’B filler’s, I was intrigued.
I would be remis to not mention my shock as I digested this over saturated production. My music taste is all over the place but usually what I listen to, isn’t. So some of Electra’s music requires me to be in a very specific mood in order to consume it.
I wouldn’t say that I love every single piece of work Electra puts out, but I will always give it a go. They are an artist who just excites me.
If I don’t like the sonic element, I’ll probably love the styling or the video for it.
Electra directly parodies the excessive façade of professionalism of the modern ‘Career Boy’ – (we all know the type) as well as tackling the inner conflict created with internalized misogyny in ‘Emasculate’. The album balances more conventionally palatable tracks like ‘Man to Man’ (which has a futuristic Prince vibe to it ), and it’s title track. ‘Flamboyant‘, (which is a good introduction to Electra) with songs like ‘Under the Armor’ that clashes dubstep sounds with quintessential pop beats. The album’s engaged lyrics are poetically formatted and the production is sumptuously fantastical with the addition of harpsichord sounds which elevate the song and compliment the variety of vocal ranges.
Electra fully develops a distinctive production style with their second release, My Agenda in October of 2020. The second studio album is noticeably heavier with the use of electric guitars, distorted for a more menacing swagger. Tracks like ‘Edgelord‘ and ‘Monk Mode’ use a generous amount of sonic clashing with sword sounds and heavy dubstep influenced sections.
Whereas, the track ‘Gentleman‘ opens with a very innocent medieval melody on an acoustic guitar which is then replaced with a hard hitting bass. This echoes the juxtaposing intro of the track ‘Flamboyant‘ which had a paired down piano melody.
Electra’s performance of gender through queer theory is intrinsic to Dorian’s music and it’s performance in ‘My Agenda’ eloquently addresses homophobic forces who accuse pioneers of LGBTQ+ activism as being militant in their determination to achieve equality. The protagonist is an LGBTQ+ crusader who is putting chemicals in the water to turn all the frogs into homosexuals – a satirical comment on the infamous bigoted conspiracy theory, Alex Jones.
Who else could bring together the Village people and Pussy Riot together on a track and make it sound..so right?!
My Agenda exercises lower vocal tones with contrasting head voice moments which make for a really chaotic but immersive sound. It hits really hard and works super well with the throbbing base that encapsulates the album. I only recently began my Dorian Electra journey so I’ll leave some links below to some of the informative and fun info I found through research.
One thing is for sure I NEED to see Dorian Electra live ASAP!