Canadian electro pin-up boy Tiga’s debut, Sexor, opens with a characteristic voice-over, laying out the landscape of the album—it’s saturated in sex, “where sexy lightning always strikes twice”. Sexor’s a man, it turns out, or a prince, or something, and his language is the booty-shake-turned-nocturnal pastime: we call this electroclash.
As a remixer, Tiga has been around for so long that Sexor was almost one of those three-years-too-late albums. But we’ll take what we can get, and what we get is a solid, if not too substantial, collection of ‘80s-inspired commercial cuts telling us that we can now judge Tiga on his merits as an artist in his own right (rather then on his choice of remix projects or covers).
Ever since we heard the ridiculous version of “Hot in Herre”, Tiga’s been associated with the electro-novelty cover, and he backs this association up on Sexor with three covers: Public Enemy’s “Louder Than a Bomb”, Nine Inch Nails’ “Down In It”, and Talking Heads’ “Burning Down the House”. Covering indie/industrial/rap classics in this stylized way is necessarily tongue-in-cheek, and you can’t really take Tiga rapping seriously, but that’s not the point; the focus is squarely on the smooth, funky beat.
Tiga’s more funky than the Presets’ electro dreams, generally, and at his most successful, the artist makes the most of it. “You Gonna Want Me” uses Scissor Sisters’ flamboyant front man, Jake Shears, for backup on the chorus, and it’s one of the album’s most successful moments—there’s something really attractive about this pulsing, funky electro and the swaying, you-want-me-don’t-you vocals. And when he lets himself play with more straight electro in line with the kind of harder edged stuff coming out of Ed Banger and other European labels, as on “3 Weeks”, the results are impressive. Since the vocals still have that disembodied/disinterested tone, together Tiga creates a new kind of lighthearted electro sound.
Despite his good-natured self-deprecation, though, Tiga’s album never really takes off. “(Far From) Home” is indicative of both the good and the bad. It’s smooth, with its Michael Jackson beat and buzzing electro effects shrouding the chorus, but even this seems a little half-hearted, like electro-lite. Tiga’s tracks always seem better in remixed form, a la the Digitalism remix of this track, which builds in a crunchy electrofunk that takes over the whole track in the end. And one complaint: isn’t the whispered thing played out? It’s a cheap kind of sexiness, and though all ellipses in “Pleasure from the Bass”, with none of the explicitness of the Whisper Song, it’s still somewhat unsatisfying.
Perhaps the real problem is that, after listening to Sexor, you can’t help but think of this genre as somewhat cheap. Between the poseur stylings of Tiga’s personae on disc and the genre’s disposable cover versions, Sexor is sweet fun during the course of its run, but after little remains.