Last December I decided 2011 would be my year of re-invention. Tired of looking like a skater/hipster/homeless teen boy, I committed to becoming a LADY, glamorizing my wardrobe so I could walk into a room and make conversation stop. Now just two months in to the year, the commitment to lady-like dressing has gone out the window. I'm trying to get back on track but feels like I'm missing motivation. Still, I'll never forget how to be a lady because of Electrik Red's re-institution of the term.
Even better than the first of the year, spring/summer is the time to introduce your new self. This warm season I am going full diva like the fabulous foursome of ER. I can't help it! Beyonce is down to her comeback weight, Gaga is on Vogue and hatching schemes everywhere. "Fierce" is back in full force for these singular ladies. So where in the hell is Electrik Red?
ER's debut album How To be A Lady Volume 1 dropped back in 2009 and following the group's feature in FADER 59, I became obsessed. The group consists of two pairs of childhood friends from New York and Toronto, respectively. After careers of being professional dancers for the likes of Ciara, Usher (the group was formed while dancing on his tour), Janet Jackson and Mariah. They're gorgeous and have tons of personality and their recording was powered by the songwriting and sonic blessing of The-Dream and Tricky Stewart. When their album didn't have the same commercial impact as The-Dream's did, I was devastated. I had finally found a girl group that gave me the feelings of domination I hadn't felt since En Vogue and SWV. The public response felt like a personal punishment. Volume 2 was rumored to drop in 2010 but here I sit in 2011, still in need of stiletto exercise music in lieu of gym membership.
Electrik Red are no-bullshit ladies. The album's title was a play on the stereotype of what constitutes being a lady while the album itself was filled with songs about acting quite the opposite. Their single "Drink in my Cup" served as an anthem to club debauchery with a video to match--featuring lyrics like "and I'ma get up on you like I wanna do you right here". It was obvious that these women were turning the meaning of the word "lady" on its head, providing a glamorous yet real image of what it was to be a woman in THIS decade. After watching them perform live--a pleasure to listen to and watch as they executed precise and sexy moves in dizzying heels as only professionals can-- I knew they were just as bad-ass in person yet I didn't realize how much of a tease they would be! In February they released a preview of "I'm that Chick" followed by a release of the full track on twitter a month later. Then Binkie made some comments about the sound of the new album. After, I heard nothing more. On January 22nd they announced a European tour and then on Valentine's Day they went in for the kill with a snippet of "Bra and Panties." Never mind that I was already in a manic state from romance overkill, they purposely threw me a morsel to drive me nuts. As a friend put it "Electrik Red is like a catch 22—the more they make music, they tease. The less they make music, the more they tease." Well ladies I've had enough rations and I'ma need a full serving.
Lesley, Binkie, Naomi and Sarah of Electrik Red are the kind of strong girl-power style force that we haven't really been privy to since the Spice Girls craze. To their credit, their debut was full of well-written and strongly-produced bangers that spanned the spectrum of music: Whether dance pop or southern bass bumpers, all of the songs were feel-good and get-sexy. Even "Bra and Panties" probably got some ladies super excited to enjoy the one day a year where you can totally be a diva about everything. The-Dream is coming off one of his strongest years ever and there's no way that Volume 2 can't come out in time to have me sweating and stunting through 2012.