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 competing on the seventh season of American reality television series RuPaul’s Drag Race in early 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; 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, in May 2017. The country and folk-infused record starkly contrasted the dance and electro pop music that was being released by other Drag Race queens at the time and was met with critical acclaim. 

Her second album, One Stone, followed 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.

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, featuring a sound that is more inspired by surf rock than country and reminiscent of music from the 1950s and 60s, that was initially billed as the lead single from her then-upcoming third album, but was later cut from the final tracklist and is now entirely standalone.

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

Trixie Mattel: Moving Parts (The Acoustic Soundtrack):

In April 2019, Mattel starred in her very own documentary, Trixie Mattel: Moving Parts, which documented her life on tour after winning All Stars in addition to her personal struggles and premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival before being released to video on demand platforms in December of that year alongside an accompanying soundtrack.

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 and honorary drag queen Dolly Parton’s “Backwoods Barbie”, popular American folk song “Keep on the Sunny Side”, and the All Stars version of American drag queen and living legend 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 — as well as addressing 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, making it Mattel’s most personal song to date.

Moving Parts and its soundtrack showed the world that in spite of the glitz and glamour, Mattel is still a human being with her own struggles and insecurities who deserves to be treated with respect.

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

Barbara:

Mattel announced that she was working on her third studio album, Barbara, in September 2018, and after taking time to focus on her other endeavors, the record finally arrived in early February.

Named after the one and only Barbie, Barbara is divided into a side A and a side B, mimicking the format of vinyl records, with each side focusing on a different sound. Side A follows “Yellow Cloud” with surf rock and rock & roll influences, 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 and LGBTQ+ rights activist group Lavender Country’s “I Can’t Shake the Stranger Out of You” — a commentary on gay hookup culture and the emptiness that comes with it that was originally released in 1973 on the band’s iconic self-titled debut album. By covering it on Barbara, Mattel honors the Queer musicians who came before her while introducing them to a new generation of Queer people, furthering Lavender Country’s legacy as the first known openly Queer country music group.

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 and musician 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=ZqhfsgINRtSdlF8vYFWVMQ 

Stream Trixie Mattel: Moving Parts (The Acoustic Soundtrack) on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/5Vcfkp2blCZRjJ7sjuVe1r?si=9fnOgFprR8a3AQJGq8cDuQ 

Stream Barbara on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/6PMAcubRYoflJL5bnAW0nZ?si=xP9Aw2TYT4-eSSh2KgRuzQ 

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

Mattel in the music video for “Jesse Jesse”.