What makes Scream Club’s Life of a Heartbreaker work so well is a record is that almost every song fits the theme in the title. Nearly each song has either Sarah Adorable or Cindy Wonderful getting in, in, or getting out of a relationship.
Listening to their rhymes throughout Life, it is funny to hear the personality (and persona) differences between the Scream Club ladies: Sarah Adorable will love you and Cindy Wonderful will love you all night long. On “You Make Me Smile”, Sarah (or, if I was using the New York Times’ style guide, would I call her Ms. Adorable?) claims “I’m not trying to play you like a walking Xbox, I’m just trying to knock you out of your sweat socks.” Cindy calls her out on when she gets the microphone on the title track. (“Sarah, you know you’re only being a tease, how they gonna take you home when you’re overseas? I know you’ve got romance in every town, people pining for you when you aren’t around.”) Scream Club is one of the most clever “good cop/bad cop” routines you are likely to hear.
Peaches, normally an artist I find more grating than entertaining, manages to drop the funniest line on Life (twice). There are two remixes of “Fine as Fuck” included here and both work well – mostly because they use the same verses and choruses. Maybe it is because I just saw John Waters interviewed at SIFF, but I can’t help but laugh at the line “don’t eat shit like Divine, I flow like the Rheine”. The interplay here is between Cindy Wonderful and Peaches and it is memorable because they are both very sexually aggressive.
Just as “Fine as Fuck” uses Peaches because Sarah Adorable doesn’t convincingly play the aggressive role the song demands, “You Make Me Smile” and “How Bad” enlists the incomparable Nicky Click to bounce her rhymes off of Adorable. The songs are two of the catchiest “I like you” love songs.
“Protégé” is another song that works really well. Scream Club are (along with Northern State) two of the longest-running Caucasian all-girl rap groups and they’ve got quite a few followers, including Team Gina and Nicky Click. Here, Click plays herself as a wide-eyed star-in-the-making seeking Scream Club’s help on her road to fame and fortune. Like a lot of hip-hop, it has a braggadocio that is more boastful than realistic (when was the last time you saw a Scream Club video on MTV?). The chorus is a call and response with Click saying “I wanna be your protégé” and Wonderful and Adorable responding in unison “I wanna be your Dr. Dre.”
Northern State also name dropped a former NWA member in one of their rhymes years ago by saying in “Rewind” “This one goes out to MC Ren and all them”. I just find it fascinating that the influential gangsta rap crew is revered by feminist icons (in some circles) while still crafting their own sound and rapping about things important in their respective worlds.
With Scream Club, Cindy Wonderful and Sarah Adorable are aware of each other’s strengths and weaknesses and bring in guests to compensate for the weaknesses (Nicky Click and Peaches most notably, and previously mentioned, but also Busdriver among others).
Originally released in 2006 but put out again on Scream Club’s own Crunks Not Dead label, Life of a Heartbreaker is a pretty consistent record both thematically and quality-wise. It isn’t perfect (next time I have to hear a “you’re so fine you blow my mind” rhyme it will be too soon) but it's a fun listen and brings out the personalities of the principles and contrasts them with one another. Life of a Heartbreaker wouldn’t and couldn’t work, though, if we didn’t like Cindy Wonderful and Sarah Adorable (who do live up to the monikers they gave themselves) and they do seem to be enjoying themselves on this record – the chorus to “I’m Going Crazy” is especially joyous. Who knew breaking hearts would be so much fun?