The Gossip
Music For Men


4.5
superb

Review

by David James Young USER (181 Reviews)
July 3rd, 2009 | 42 replies | 7,261 views


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A rainbow-coloured fist to the face of detractors, haters and former lovers. The Gossip you've heard is all true.

4 of 4 thought this review was well written

Before we begin analysing the music of Gossip, on their fourth album (and their first for a major label) Music For Men, we must get a few words out of the way. Lord knows how many reviews of this band and their work have been plagued with obsessions over these two words and their connection to Gossip, and you, dear reader, don’t need another one. So let’s get it out of the way first.

The words are “overweight” and “lesbian”.
All synonyms included.

Ever since vocalist Beth Ditto became paparazzi fresh meat around 2006 and the runaway success of the band’s last record, Standing in the Way of Control, the image of the band has played a huge part in their exposure. Whilst there are certainly bold statements to come from a two-thirds lesbian band with an outspoken frontwoman in terms of image alone, hindsight should never be lost of the powerful, punk-inspired alternative rock that the collective creates. As if to prove this, the Gossip have returned with Music for Men – their defining moment in their career thus far. A brash, uncompromising, powerful and downright exciting work of art, this is the Gossip at their most certain and assured in their songwriting abilities – making it all the better in the process.

At its core, the album picks up where Standing in the Way... left off. Fans from previous albums won’t be disappointed with the continuation of soulful melodies leading a charge of guitar snarl, slinking bass and Hannah Billie’s driving drums and percussion that defined their work. Tracks such as the invigorating “8th Wonder” epitomise the Gossip fanfare we have grown accustomed to, sounding like vintage Aretha Franklin at her most inspired fronting Gang of Four. Opener “Dimestore Diamond”, too, is a husky blues stomp with a gritty walking bass and lyrical socioeconomic undertones.

It is the expansion and progression upon this sound, however, which is certain to attain new fans. With legendary producer Rick Rubin behind the desk, the trio have expanded their sound to blend in synth-infused and dance-oriented dance influences. The band have certainly embraced such influences before, but never to the fully-realised extent that is found on here. “Pop Goes The World” is a guaranteed hip-shaker, whilst “Love and Let Love” is the most heartbroken you can get on the dancefloor.

The embodiment of the progression’s successfulness, ultimately, is bundled into a three-and-a-half minute extravaganza known as lead single “Heavy Cross”. A frantic, energetic and powerful performance, the song thrives on Brace Paine’s layered, swaggering guitar mixed with groove-infested beats, handclaps and an eighties-flavoured synth undercurrent that remains consistent throughout. That’s not even mentioning Ditto’s sensational vocal performance – the call to arms of “If it’s already been done, undo it” and “It’s up to me and you to prove it” is sung with such conviction that you are more than willing to do anything she says.

To hell with it, the woman deserves her own paragraph. Ditto is evolving into an iconic figure in music; proving there’s far more to being “alternative” in the pop realm than your Pinks or Katy Perrys. Her wild, Otis Redding-esque howls and moans are occasionally watered-down on Music for Men, but this does not depreciate the value of the songs slightly – in fact, it allows Ditto to attempt more sultry, passionate vocals. She accomplishes this on lower-key numbers such as the sexy “Vertical Rhythm”, as well as the heartfelt balladry of “For Keeps” and the electronica slow jam of “Four Letter Word”. A near-faultless singer, Ditto has never sounded more confident and impassioned than on Music for Men.

Standing in the Way of Control was the Gossip warming up. Music for Men, now, is the main event. Beth, Brace and Hannah have created a career-defining work of art that spits on the norm and shifts the focus away from public imagery over to where the focus should have been in the beginning – the exceptional music. For men. For women. For all that are willing to listen.



Recent reviews by this author
The Presets PacificaLast Dinosaurs In A Million Years
Every Time I Die Ex LivesDarren Hayes Secret Codes and Battleships
Wanda Jackson The Party Ain't OverPhrase Babylon
user ratings (39)
Chart.
3.4
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
zenblade
July 3rd 2009



21 Comments


Heavy Cross is a great single, but the huge amounts of neg press around Ditto have kept me from listening to more of their stuff. Review makes it seem pretty promising though, so will have to check it out.

AtavanHalen
July 3rd 2009



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Please don't let the press fool you, man. A lot of them are just pigs.

Spare
July 3rd 2009



5271 Comments


heavy cross sucks. standing in the way of control's title track was pretty awesome until i heard it one million times. band now annoys me to no end. i don't like the singer's voice but i must admit, she can fucking sing holy shit

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
July 3rd 2009



20856 Comments


I haven't heard anything from this album as yet, but didn't mind the title track off their last album. I'd like to see Ali's rebuttal of this review before listening to it.

Gee DavID, you've handed out a few high ratings this year, haven't you? Have you got a mid-year top 5 list as such?

Waior
July 3rd 2009



11451 Comments


Yeah, definitely sounds, well, interesting. I'll save further judgments for when I hear it (the near future).

zenblade
July 3rd 2009



21 Comments


Yah, a lot of them tend to focus on her being, well... an obese lesbian, and not much else.

AtavanHalen
July 3rd 2009



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Have you got a mid-year top 5 list as such?

1. Merriweather
2. Mean Everything
3. This
4. It's Not Me It's You
5. Sound Awake

Spare
July 3rd 2009



5271 Comments


hey atavanhalen guess what cog are in my town and are playing at my local venue i bet you're super jealous. also, heavy cross just came on the radio. no idea why i dislike that song so much, but i hate it more and more every time i hear it it just makes me wanna fuck shit i up i can't even

would i like anything else off this?

AtavanHalen
July 3rd 2009



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Hey guess what Spare I've already see Cog twice this year.
Listen to 8th Wonder.

Spare
July 3rd 2009



5271 Comments


oh goddammit you motherfu- ok i'll listen to that.

Lucid
Contributing Reviewer
July 3rd 2009



7023 Comments


Love the three song stretch from "Heavy Cross" to "Love Long Distance".

Digging: FKA twigs - LP1

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
July 3rd 2009



20856 Comments


Just heard 'Heavy Cross' and was not impressed. I didn't think it was "energetic" or "powerful" at all. In fact, it was subdued at stages. Almost as if Ditto was holding back.

Titan50
July 3rd 2009



4588 Comments


Single's alright, prefer Standing...

AtavanHalen
July 3rd 2009



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@Lucidity - Word
@Champ Kind - Wrong
@Titan - Most people do

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
July 3rd 2009



7326 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

good review though i disagree.

SatoIsNotPlace
July 3rd 2009



99 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Delightfully agree.

Knott-
Emeritus
July 3rd 2009



10195 Comments


alternative pop is florence and the machines, this is just shit

AtavanHalen
July 3rd 2009



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

defs not as good as nu agen

joshuatree
Emeritus
July 3rd 2009



3743 Comments


[img]http://rlv.zcache.com/no_fat_chicks_tshirt-p235748618543994929q6vb_400.jpg[/img]

StreetlightRock
Emeritus
July 3rd 2009



3766 Comments


osnap

Digging: Interpol - El Pintor



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy