Larry Tee is a legend in the New York dance scene. He founded massive parties (including one portrayed in the 2003 Macaulay Culkin comeback film Party Monster), DJed at the Palladium and Roxy, literally trademarked the term “electroclash”, co-wrote RuPaul’s hit single “Supermodel (You Better Work)” (which landed in the Billboard Top 40), and helped launch the careers of Scissor Sisters, Fischerspooner, and Peaches. He even produced the B-52’s “Rock Lobster” for good measure. In short, Larry Tee has a name for himself in the industry at large, and a big one in the Big Apple.
Being notable does not always mean you are supremely gifted at everything you try, though. Despite Larry’s impressive history as a music mover and shaker, what I gather is his long-awaited debut album of original works accurately delivers on its name. Club Badd is full of bad club music. It is an electro-cluster-fuck of annoying, repetitive, and familiar synth sounds and melodic progressions, propelling oversexed and immature vocals from minor celebrities over straight house beats. Perez Hilton and Princess Superstar lead a host of regrettable guest vocalists — many of whom should never be referred to as “vocalists” — and every other track is some kind of super-mega-show-us-your-junk-swingers-coke-party remix. It is a hot mess.
Larry knows his way around a studio, so the long-player is adequately produced. The bass is as huge as a sumo fart and the synth leads are raunchy as rusty razor blades, but there are few fresh ideas to be found here. Club Badd is ten years late for the prom, and it shows its age. Not helping matters, the album is a classic case of “too many chefs in the kitchen” syndrome. Unless you have Hilton’s blog bookmarked and you read it frequently, you will probably have no idea who is who and what is going on here.
Regardless, the strongest Club Badd song is the album’s most minimal, the “I Love U” original mix. Despite its creepy pedophilic video, it is an incredibly cute house track that follows the musings of a prepubescent girl over a whistling, “dum-diddy-dum” vocal loop and simple beat. It is one of the rare moments when Larry and his cyberpals get out of their own way and let a track stand on the merit of its sound, rather than glomming banal melody over banal melody until the track is as layered as the makeup of a suburban prostitute. He cannot seem to stop himself from “going there” every cut, but “I Love U” goes a long way to proving that less can be more.
Although it is only available online, all respect is due to Evol Intent’s righteous dubstep remix of “Hipster Girl”. That track is the sickness. Plus, I have to give props to the Larry Tee rendition of “Shoes”, which is a tasteful homage to one of the all-time greatest YouTube videos. Sure, that remix is as muddled as the rest of the album, but it is a nice reminder to watch to source material again. As for Club Badd, the original version of “Shoes” has more going for it than this entire album.