With an upsurge in the amount of queens releasing music after their time on RuPaul’s Drag Race in recent years, it makes complete sense that they’d eventually get together for something as fabulous as this. Featuring 16 of the top queens, from Drag Race winners Jinkx Monsoon, Sharon Needles and Violet Chachki to fan favourites like Katya, Alaska Thunderfuck, Courtney Act and Willam, you’ll be hearing your favourite Christmas carols in ways you’d never expected to hear them before on Christmas Queens.
With each queen usually bringing their own track, the album crashes through styles at breakneck speed. Miss Fame’s semi-orchestral cover of Victor Herbert’s composition Toyland is a beautiful lullaby that suits her glamorous vocals perfectly. Directly afterwards, Sharon Needles goes full UK punk on Jingle Bells, twisting the classic carol into something raunchy and aggressive, straight down to her cheering chorus of “Hail Santa!”, leading into Katya Zamolodchikova’s faithfully composed cover of 12 Days of Christmas, spun with her own sexual and cultural references, all delivered in her comically overdrawn Russian accent.
Given that many of these queens aren’t well known for their singing, they find clever ways to get around it; Jiggly Caliente’s apathetic rendition of Ratchet Christmas is a carol for the modern age, as she sings about twerking on a mall Santa’s lap and eating ramen and spam on Christmas in her most deadpan voice alongside a hip-hop beat. Detox takes a similarly modern route on This Is How We Jew It, recounting a time spending Hanukkah with a Jewish boyfriend’s family, expressing her inability to understand the holiday and sudden following drunken love for it in her strongest valley girl accent. Meanwhile, Violet Chachki’s take of The Night Before Christmas takes on a sullen piano arrangement as she twists it into a song about Santa’s visit to a fetish house.
Comedy is the strong heart of the album, and it makes for a refreshing take on the Christmas album: Katya’s 12 Days of Christmas will have you laughing non-stop, and hearing Alaska, Courtney and Willam sing about dysfunctional family holidays over an acoustic pop beat on Christmas Sweater is a perfect mix of pop and comedy, with Alaska’s Mariah Carey impersonation and Willam’s closing statement of “Happy Birthday Hanukkah!” tying the song together. Miss Fame and Jinkx’s more serious tracks are a little at odds with the nature of the rest of the album, but make up for this with quality. Even when the songs do take a dip in quality, the sheer personality packed in usually gives them some redeeming factor that helps to even them out—The simple calypso beat of Christmas is Coming is one example, with Darienne Lake, Ivy Winters and Pandora Boxx’s chatting about money and presents giving you a reason to listen to the song.
Christmas Queens is one gigantic jumble of Christmas cheer and questionable morals. There’s all the wit, sex and offensive situations—Even before listening to Willam’s A Very Cozby Christmas, it’s easy to tell what you’re in for—that you’ve come to expect from your favourite queens, and given the holiday mixtape vibe of the release, its eclectic combination of tracks works amazingly well. It’s the perfect soundtrack to a traditionally dysfunctional Christmas.