Beth Ditto, plucky frontwoman of disco-punk trio the Gossip, has been in the headlines lately for feuding with Katy Perry, whom she finds “offensive to gay culture” for pretending to kiss girls and like it. But look! The Gossip’s new album, Music for Men, is available to download on iTunes and other online services today. (The physical copy won’t be available until October, which still makes no sense.)
Music for Men is significant for two reasons: It’s the group’s major-label debut, and it was produced by Columbia honcho Rick Rubin to boot. Certainly, Rubin’s influence is noticeable, because Music for Men exudes polish at every turn. Something else that’s noticeable: Someone pissed off Beth Ditto. The lady’s clearly got some relationship angst to get off her chest. Sample lyric: “Love is a four-letter word that should never be heard.” Yikes!
After giving the album a once-through, I still can’t get over first single “Heavy Cross.” We’ve pom-pommed for the tune in the past,but the frisky floor-banger is just as jubilant as ever on the album.The rest of the set, though, often seems stuck on repeat. “This is thelast time I love and let love,” Ditto declares on “Love and Let Love.”That’s the exact love-gone-wrong sentiment she communicates onseemingly every track, and it quickly wears thin. There are only somany synth/guitar-driven beats that can accompany such whiny lyrics.
Music for Mendoes include a few flashes of variety. Lead-off track “DimestoreDiamond” pulls off its bluesy vibe with swagger and verve. The ode toMarvin Gaye in “Love Long Distance” is a welcome retro surprise, whilethe soaring vocals and grrl-power chorus of “For Keeps” are so good itmakes you forget it’s yet another declaration against love.Still, by the time the clouds finally seem to clear for therambunctious punk-rockin’ final track, “Spare Me from the Mold,” Iwondered if it was too little, too late. Ditto’s an outspoken,big-voiced talent — and the band’s got spunk in spades — but thealbum’s twee-er than a kid in a Dashboard Confessional t-shirt. Whilenot a bad thing, it’s nonetheless best enjoyed in two-or-three trackdoses.
Has anyone else heard Music for Men? What do you think?
More from EW’s Music Mix:
The Gossip’s video for ‘Heavy Cross’: Yep…the song still rocks
The Gossip’s new disco-pop single — song of the summer?
What are your picks for songs of the summer? We’ve got a few ideas…