Catching up with Trixie Mattel: “Yellow Cloud”, ‘Trixie Mattel: Moving Parts (The Acoustic Soundtrack)’, and ‘Barbara’.

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Trixie Mattel

Trixie Mattel as she appears in the press release photos for her ‘Grown Up Tour’.

Mason Montano, Music Editor

American drag queen and musician Trixie Mattel is best known for placing sixth on the seventh season of American reality competition series RuPaul’s Drag Race in mid-2015 and for winning the third season of RuPaul’s Drag Race: All Stars in early 2018. 

Since her original appearance on the show, she’s enjoyed massive mainstream success traveling the world on her various comedy tours; co-hosting the hit web show, UNHhhh, with fellow Drag Race competitor Katya Zamolodchikova, which has aired on YouTube since March 2016; and launching her own cosmetics brand, Trixie Cosmetics, in May 2019.

Prior to appearing on All Stars, Mattel also entered the music scene with her debut album, Two Birds. Released in May 2017, the country and folk-infused record contrasted the dance and electro pop music released by other Drag Race queens and was met with critical acclaim. A follow-up record, One Stone, dropped in March 2018, earning her even more success, and over the past year, she’s released lots of new music that we need to catch up on:

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The cover of Mattel’s non-album single, “Yellow Cloud”.

“Yellow Cloud”

Mattel released “Yellow Cloud” as her comeback single in May 2019. It’s a slight departure from her previous work, as it features a sound that is more inspired by surf rock than country and is reminiscent of music from the 1950s and 60s. While originally planned as the lead single from her, then upcoming, third album, it was later cut from the final tracklist and is now, entirely, standalone.

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The cover of the soundtrack for ‘Trixie Mattel: Moving Parts’.

Trixie Mattel: Moving Parts (The Acoustic Soundtrack)

In April 2019, Mattel starred in her very own documentary, titled Trixie Mattel: Moving Parts, which documents her life touring after winning All Stars in addition to her personal struggles. The film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, and an accompanying soundtrack was released in December 2019.

Trixie Mattel: Moving Parts (The Acoustic Soundtrack) is an EP that features acoustic renditions of both original songs; such as her previously released single “Moving Parts” and an older song called “Hello, Goodbye, Hello”; and covers; including American singer-songwriter Dolly Parton’s “Backwoods Barbie”, popular American folk song “Keep on the Sunny Side”, and the All Stars version of RuPaul’s “Kitty Girl”; performed by Mattel on guitar and recorded in one-take. 

The soundtrack also includes a new song, titled “Heavy Crown”, that discusses her life after winning All Stars and how some people didn’t think she deserved it — There was controversy surrounding her win, as many fans felt like fellow-competitor Shangela was more deserving. 

It also heavily references Katya’s hiatus from drag in early 2018 after she admitted herself into a rehab facility following a psychotic break that resulted in her relapsing on methamphetamines.

Moving Parts and its soundtrack showed the world how in spite of the glitz and glamour, Mattel is still a human being with her own struggles and insecurities.

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The cover of Trixie Mattel’s third studio album, ‘Barbara’.

Barbara

Mattel announced that she was working on her third studio album, Barbara, named after the one and only icon herself, Barbie, in September 2018, and after taking time to focus on her other endeavors, the record was finally released in early February.

Barbara is divided into a side A and a side B, mimicking the format of vinyl records. Side A follows “Yellow Cloud” with surf rock and rock and roll inspired sounds, and side B returns to the country and folk style that Mattel is known for.

As a whole, Barbara’s main theme is love. Cute bops like “Jesse Jesse” and “Girl Next Door” from Side A describe crushes and sound like they’re straight out of a teen romantic-comedy, and acoustic ballads like “I Do Like You” and “Stranger” offer a more mature, thoughtful perspective on love and intimacy. 

The latter is a cover of Queer country band Lavender Country’s “I Can’t Shake the Stranger Out of You”, which is a commentary on gay hookup culture and the emptiness that comes with it. 

Trixie Mattel is a trailblazer for the LGBTQ+ community, as she is the only prominent drag queen country musician, breaking down the boundaries of the music industry alongside other Queer country artists like American rapper Lil Nas X and Canadian singer Orville Peck. All hail the drag queen of country!

“Yellow Cloud”, Trixie Mattel: Moving Parts (The Acoustic Soundtrack), and Barbara are available now across all online and streaming platforms.

Stream “Yellow Cloud” on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/6Hza1N5nPKx1HgdZer695K?si=6bfaLxXsRvuQoTj2S2w95g

Stream Trixie Mattel: Moving Parts (The Acoustic Soundtrack) on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/5Vcfkp2blCZRjJ7sjuVe1r?si=MsQ3zXwGTcGIJCxM2mLNtg

Stream Barbara on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/6PMAcubRYoflJL5bnAW0nZ?si=084qtBOCQxSTLTlcBFo2OQ

Watch the music video for “Jesse Jesse”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cmQ_1Fc9X8E

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Mattel in the music video for “Jesse Jesse”.