Baby Dee 

Safe Inside The Day(Drag City)

You know how the old saying goes: you can take the transgender songwriter/performer out of the sideshow, but you can’t take the sideshow out of the transgender songwriter/performer. Or something like that. At the very least, Baby Dee’s first Drag City release definitely comes off with all the bombast and theatricality of a traveling circus. The whole show is rounded off by a supporting cast of guest musicians including guitarist-producer Matt Sweeney, labelmate Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy and frat-boy rocker Andrew WK picking out surprisingly modest bass lines. WK doesn’t lend the record any of his groan-inducing drink-beer-and-party-all-the-time aesthetic, but it’s still kind of humorous to imagine him involved in any artistic endeavor that’s got lines like, “She flies free who flies for home / with sweetness weighed / A million springs.” As for Baby Dee, she’s made songs in a style Tom Waits fans might enjoy but camps it up so much that, save for a handful of interesting moments on the record, she seems to present caricatures of people or emotions more than anything real or affecting.

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