You won’t find anyone closer to a legitimate drag queen pop star than Adore Delano. With her previous album Til Death Do Us Party reaching the top 5 on the US Dance charts and just falling short of the top 10 on the Independent Albums charts, she has the kind of appeal that can drag in any pop fan. This time, however, Adore’s decided to capitalise on that appeal: Compared to the drag-adjacent style of Til Death Do Us Party, After Party sidles a little bit closer to the mainstream.
The overall aesthetic for After Party is decidedly more mature, from its cover to the sound of the album. Even its lead single is a far cry from DTF: Dynamite’s seductive melodies and simple beat leave ample room for the accompanying strings to swell and soar throughout the chorus as Adore shows off her impressive vocals, selling the song’s sexual theme with a deceptively simple chorus hook—You’re looking dynamite. It acts as a good indicator for the rest of the album as well, as the title track itself is Dynamite’s more exaggerated counterpart, ditching the strings for a more aggressive beat and a whispered sexual hook—It’s my party and I’ll fuck who I want—that sits alongside the more seductive vocals of the chorus perfectly.
Elsewhere, the album takes a more carefree pop turn, with tracks like I Really Like It and Take Me There channelling the likes of Katy Perry and offering a nice counterpoint to the sexual tracks. Save Your Breath and I Can’t Love You tackle a more mid-tempo sound, fleshing the album out even more. In truth, its only weak moment comes in the form of Foreign Lover, where the awkward recitations of foreign greetings and confusing EDM beats come together without much grace, ultimately standing out on After Party for all the wrong reasons. Constellations manages to effortlessly separate itself from the pack, though; its subdued yet uptempo beat and sparkly, spacey sound feels distinct from the album without clashing with the entire body of work. The album’s best songs—which admittedly equates to most of After Party—take a more restrained route with their production, never using more than is necessary to convey the message.
And in the end, this is the most endearing part of After Party. It’s not over-produced, and it feels like an evolution from Til Death Do Us Party without completely switching rails and going into uncharted territory. As an attempt at a serious pop effort from an artist that’s part of a threateningly small niche, After Party stands out as the most likely to go mainstream by far. With only one complete mistake across the album, there’s a lot here for Adore fans to enjoy, even if she’s not partying quite as hard as she used to.