Romeo Dance Cheetah – Magnificent Man
Romeo Dance Cheetah’s album Magnificent Man is a nine song ride quite unlike anything else in popular music today. That’s a relatively bold statement to make in 2017 unless it’s just an idle boast designed to move a few more copies of some new release, but it’s not mere hype in the case of Romeo Dance Cheetah’s Magnificent Man. He clearly embraces the style that his heroes like Freddie Mercury’s band Queen and Michael Jackson’s eighties and early nineties material helped to popularize on a massive scale. It’s the next peak in a journey that’s taken Cheetah from a small Missiuri town to the University of Iowa, an appearance on America’s Got Talent, and now his moment in the sun with this first album. Romeo Dance Cheetah is a cut above your average satire driven or parody act – he mimics a variety of styles not just with well honed skills for mimicry, but with substantive musical talent as well.
The title song has a real rock strut and warm jagged guitars that connect with listeners. The way Cheetah’s vocal melody matches up with the musical arrangement highlights the lyrics a little more than they might have otherwise been. There isn’t a single lyric in this song that he doesn’t sing with unbridled energy and the way he unabashedly owns the words makes the performance all that more enjoyable. “35 Year Olds Dancin’” has some more rough hewn guitars and a faster pace that gives the song a wild, brawling edge. The lyrics are some of the best satire on the album and Cheetah sings them with the same unashamed glee that comes through on the first song. He really goes in with invoking the late eighties/early nineties rock feel on the song “Party Poopin’” and it’s never undermined by the humor level. There are a lot of moments on Magnificent Man that are just outright fun and this is one from beginning to end. The drum sound on this track is very memorable.
The drum sound catches your attention on “The Air Guitar Song” as well. Rarely, if ever, has a certain kind of rock music ever being so pointedly mocked before and part of the enjoyment in hearing him do it is listening to how well he handles the style. The confidence coming through on this album is the stuff that veterans have, but this young performer comes off as a seasoned writer and vocalist with songs like these. “Laser Beam Makeup” is likely far outside the sense of humor many possess, but its far out musings will undoubtedly amuse a few and the musical arrangement is quite solid once again. The follow-up “Live the Dream” comes from a very different place than the earlier numbers and the sheer earnestness of his vocal and lyric is difficult to deny. It puts an emphatic exclamation point on the end of Magnificent Man to finish out what deserves mention as one of the year’s most original and off beat albums.