Mon. Dec 9th, 2019

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Album Review: Willam – Shartistry in Motion

2 min read

Willam Belli—that’s right, there’s no second I—is one of the most notable queens to grace the main stage of RuPaul’s Drag Race, not to mention quite possibly the crassest. Her often explicit parodies of popular songs have been doing the rounds on the internet for a while now, such as the viral sensation Boy Is a Bottom with now-defunct group DWV and more recently American Apparel Ad Girls with Alaska Thunderfuck and Courtney Act reaching the top 10 of the Billboard comedy charts. It makes sense that Shartistry in Motion is more or less a straight parody album, but at the same time it’s that iconic Willam charm that keeps it from being just another comedy album.

Willam Shartistry in MotionIn case you’re not familiar with Willam, there’s something that needs to be said; Shartistry in Motion is ridiculously filthy. Beyoncé’s Love On Top is turned into an ode to uncircumcised male genitalia on Ucc. Katy Perry’s Unconditionally becomes a description of Willam’s sexual habits in Only Anally. Even the original tracks follow the theme, with Coin on the Dresser being a blatant prostitution anthem. This album is heavily aimed at people with a filthy sense of humour, but that’s basically its saving grace, not its downfall.

It helps that Willam and her collaborators manage to stay clever in their writing. American Apparel Ad Girls parodies Capital Cities’ Farrah Fawcett Hair in a way that feels pretty fresh; while it’s mostly Willam, Courtney, and Alaska spouting ridiculous catchphrases in the same spoken word style as their source material, it’s also a blatant reference to their American Apparel collection with tongue firmly in cheek: So please feel free to like us / And buy these tops we wear / These here shirts / They’re good shirts / They’re good shirts / Sickening. The back and forth between the three queens throughout the song seals the deal; hearing Willam namedrop Lupita Nyong’o and Alaska responding by calling her “delicious” never gets old.

In short, Shartistry in Motion is a filthy, crass and overly sexual album; but what else would you expect from Willam? It’s a perfect showcase of her ability to take a pop song and make it nasty. The original tracks on the album might not live up to the power of the parodies, but when she can turn a parody like the ones on show here it barely even matters. Don’t take Shartistry in Motion seriously. Its sole purpose is to offer you some morally questionable entertainment, so sit down, shut up and just enjoy it, goddammit!