Monday Motivation: Scissor Sisters


If you’re anything like me, you probably started the day by recognizing that the start of a new work week had indeed arrived and then immediately began shaking your fists at the sky in anger. Monday is rarely anyone’s favorite day, and from what I have seen firsthand it feels safe to say it’s the one day of the week some people outright hate. I guess to them the arrival of the work week symbolizes the end of their quote/unquote freedom, and as a result they head into the office/factory/restaurant/store with a negative outlook already on their mind. This leads to bad attitudes, which only makes the experience of being at work worse, and for some reason it also seems to make time slow to a crawl. We’re not about that life, and we hope this post can do the same you that the song contained within it did for us.

One of the most common lies told to children is that the world wants them to be a unique individual who contributes something original to the global community. Innovators are definitely welcomed when their ideas simplify the lives of others, but as we age we learn that most people only manage to make a living and build a life by bending their will to promote, protect, or be the gears that keep the corporate world running. We’re conditioned to believe that our best ideas are the ones that make ever-so-slight variations to the way things already are, and even then they’re only acceptable if they ultimately result in someone other than ourselves making more money (or saving some, depending on the concept).

If you’re lucky, you will begin to recognize this unfortunate truth at a young age. Music, film, and literature have been ripe with eye-opening art since the dawn their invention, and as the reality of the world is revealed to you there is a brief window of time in which you are able to make a decision to break from what is expected. Maybe you do not alter the way the world spins, but you refuse to conform in a way that is so undeniably unique that you not only embrace who you really are, but you inspire others to do the same. All art should, on some level, entertain, but the best creations always have something more to say than reiterating the need to celebrate existence. The true greats find a way to deliver social commentary in a way that entertains as much as it hopes to inform, and so far this century few artists were able to master that level of song craftsmanship like (sadly now defunct band) Scissor Sisters.

You may not think you’re all that familiar with the music of Scissor Sisters, but if you have been a consumer of most major pop culture phenomenons from the worlds of television or film at any point since 2004 you have almost assuredly bobbed along to one of their songs. The band, which formed in 2001, broke onto the international stage with a disco cover of “Comfortably Numb” that was followed by the critical and commercial success of their self-titled debut album. Songs like “Take Your Mama” and “Filthy/Gorgeous” quickly became licensing gold, and the band’s music, promoted as being forged in the ”scuzzy, gay nightlife scene of New York,“ brought elements of gay culture to the public eye in ways never before attempted. Whether they wanted to or not, the band became symbols of a larger movement towards acceptance and equality in a time when most of America was still only just beginning to embrace the LGBT community, and that positioning helped push their status into the culture stratosphere.

As time passed, the flood of attention began to subside, but the quality of Scissor Sisters’ music and the frequency of their placement in media did not. Each album introduced new ideas and future classics to the world, with tracks like “I Don’t Feel Like Dancing” and “Only The Horses” reaffirming the group’s knack for unforgettable ear worms again and again. The media may have overlooked the albums these songs appeared on, but fans did not. Through constant contact aided by the rise of social media Scissor Sisters were able to forge a connection with listeners all over the world that cemented their place in music for as long as they wished to have it. Several forums for the group became full blown websites, and the members of the band were known to frequently engage with fans through these portals that they, as far as anyone knows, had no actual stake in. The band recognized the value in making listeners feels as if there is an open dialogue with artists and used it to harness the marketing power of those who believed in them.

When Scissor Sisters announced plans for a hiatus in 2012 their fans were shocked, but accepting. The group had delivered four albums worth of material, toured the world several times over, and through it all they never forgot their position as cultural representatives for something much larger than themselves. When frontman Jake Shears told The Guardian “sexuality is a universal thing” in 2010 he introduced an idea to untold thousands who otherwise may not have consider such a possibility. He, like the rest of the band the music they created, exemplified a way of seeing the world that most of us would like to hope we can achieve in our own lives. Every member of Scissor Sisters embraced everything about themselves, as well as that of those around them, and their music celebrated the unity that can come from such acceptance. It did not shy away from the fact such things are not easy to attain, but it argued there is always reason to fight for a better tomorrow, and through doing so instilled a sense of hope in people from all walks of life who, for whatever reason, felt discouraged about who they knew themselves to be.

Whether or not Scissor Sisters will return remains a mystery, but as long as licensing exists their music will continued to be exposed to new listeners. The hope is that those brief clips inspire deeper discovery, and that playing the albums inspires the listener to tell someone else what they’ve heard, but I couldn’t tell you how often that actually happens. I certainly hope it does, as there may never be another band quite like Scissor Sisters, and I would hate for future generations to not know the beauty of their art. We need more bands like Scissor Sisters, and not just to further the discussion of equality and acceptance. Music can shape the way people view the world in a way no other medium can match, and with enough forward thinking positivity we might just be able to improve this thing we call life.

James Shotwell is the Digital Marketing Manager for Haulix. He is also a professional entertainment critic, covering both film and music, as well as the co-founder of Antique Records. Feel free to tell him you love or hate the article above by connecting with him on Twitter. Bonus points if you introduce yourself by sharing your favorite Simpsons character.

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company's podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.