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Bi, bi, bi: in a new music anthology, bisexual artists raise funds to fight old ideas of who they are.

Bi the People

* Various artists * Violent Yodel

Benefit compilations are guilt trips waiting to happen. Each is a lilt-and-miss affair, and you silently pray that the hits outnumber the misses so you have a reason to hang on to it after the good feeling of donating to whatever cruise fades away. The cause this time is the Bisexual Foundation, a nonprofit San Diego-based group that's up against the still-pervasive idea (even among lesbians and gays) that bisexuals are stuck in a sexual holding pattern, a 1970s-era Ziggy Stardust-fueled experimental phase they never outgrew.

Enter this CD of "bisexual artists and friends," produced by outspoken bisexual singer-songwriter Skott Freedman, who tours as both artist and speaker for die bi nation. The 16-song disc kicks off to a rollicking start with Jill Sobule's "Saw a Cop," a funny little ode to a female officer who "shot me with a radar gun" and "looked like Angie Dickinson." From there it stays fairly well grounded in the land of introspective singer-songwriters. Freedman is one himself, and he's got a good ear for the emotionally vulnerable; warmly mature contributions from people like Laura Love, Anne Heaton, and Leslie Nuchow keep the tone of the disc in check.

Strangely, it's when the CD goes after musical diversity that it stumbles. Pansy Division's countrified cut "Luv Luv Luv" is funny, but Bitch and Animal's "Secret Candy" is complaint rap with weak beats. Erin Hamilton's tepid house cover of Kiki Dee's "I Got the Music in Me" and American Idol Jim Verraros's embarrassing "I Want You" threaten to sink the whole boat.

At the last minute, however, newcomers Rachel Sage and Gregory Douglass step in and act as life preservers. Sage's interestingly textured "What If," coupled with her unusual vocals, elevates her above the sensitive-girl pack, while sensitive-boy Douglass's harmony-rich ballad "Hard" is the sweetest, most moving track on the entire disc. They're both artists to watch, and their cuts alone make this CD one to hunt down.
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Article Details
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Author:White, Dave
Publication:The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)
Article Type:Sound Recording Review
Date:Dec 9, 2003
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