Essential Drag Albums

Essential Drag Albums

Marlene Dietrich
Marlene Dietrich in London (1965)
Recorded 34 years after Morocco, the benchmark film that featured Dietrich seducing both sexes while garbed in top hat and tux, this cherished performance bends its genders strictly by association. She was the picture of mature femininity, but that voice -- vulnerable yet virile, coquettish yet cocksure, silly yet oh, so serious -- had its own coy twists.

Step II (1978)
Calling Sylvester a drag queen is like saying the Beatles were just a rock group. Sure, he works a gold lam muumuu-lookin thing on the back cover of this historic breakthrough album. But as the eternal roof-raiser You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real) proved, no mere pretender can coo kiss me there, moan like a bitch, and still convince you hes a top.

k.d. lang
Absolute Torch and Twang (1989)
As a cowgirl who just looked awkward in conventional womens clothing, k.d. lang posed in low-key ranch-hand regalia for the cover of her third major-label album. Shed soon go pop and trade in her shit-kickers for spats, but Absolutes sultry alt-country classics Pullin Back the Reins and Full Moon Full of Love are artistic high points. Come back to the barnyard, k.d. lang, k.d. lang!

Send a letter to the editor about this article.