The album is made up mainly of show tunes. The album's title alludes to the fact that most of the songs on the album feature vocalist Spike Slawson singing songs that were originally performed by female characters in their original stage shows/movies (with the exception of the Phantom's part in "Phantom of the Opera", Richard O'Brien's female-sounding falsetto in "Science Fiction," and "Rainbow Connection"). The album's cover features the members of the band dressed up, in drag, as five of those female characters: Usherette Trixie ("Science Fiction/Double Feature"), Annie Mudge ("Tomorrow"), Dorothy Gale ("Over the Rainbow"), Sandy Dumbrowski ("It's Raining on Prom Night"), and Dr. Frank-N-Furter ("Science Fiction/Double Feature").
Like many other Gimme Gimmes albums, Are a Drag contains many elements of mash-up - more specifically, musical allusions to punk or power-pop songs in their covers, which are rarely "punk" or "power-pop" or "proto-punk." The intro to the song "My Favorite Things" quotes "Generator", by Bad Religion, and at the end of "Tomorrow", Fat Mike can be heard singing "Mommy's alright, daddy's alright, they just seem a little weird" - a lyric from "Surrender" by Cheap Trick.