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Listen Up

10th July 2009

Gossip - Music For Men

Posted by: Kitten Power

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On the first listen I liked the new Gossip album Music For Men. On the second, I really liked it. By about the third or fourth, I was hooked and delirious. Even when I’m not listening, Beth Ditto and her Stevie Nicks-esque yowls are playing on repeat through my head.

Let’s get something out of the way, as many in the media seem so obsessed by the fact singer Beth Ditto is a plus-sized lesbian they seem to have forgotten to listen to the music when reviewing the album . . . ok so yes, she’s a big woman, but she has an even bigger heart.  Ditto is an icon for any woman who has ever stood up and said ‘who the hell wants to look like Britney Spears anyway?’

So to what really matters, the music . . . Music For Men bangs open with Dimestore Diamond, then the camp, catchy single Heavy Cross which exemplifies the dance vibe, that is a progression from the stripped-down punk rock and roll of Gossip’s early days.

Yet Music For Men is still very rock and roll - Brace Paine’s guitar is still gleefully unleashed and Hannah Blilie pounds the drums like a demon . . . but there is also 80s-synth, pianos and enough “oohs and ahhs” to make The Supremes proud. 

This album does come with a sense of deja vu, with pop references jumping out all over the place. Such as in Love Long Distance where Ditto croons “I heard through the bassline, not much longer would you be my baby”.  But just as a song sounds familiar - it takes a leap in a completely different direction.

The track which has been the most compulsively in my head since I heard the album could also be the new Gossip gay anthem - Men In Love.  It urges gay men to “dance like there’s nobody looking . . . go out all night and sleep all day”. The “nah, nah, nahs” and shame, shame, shames” in this track are addictive.

But I mean - how many songs are there in this world which proudly state “Men in love - with each other?”  It’s just another reason to treasure Gossip.

Beth Ditto once said one of the reasons Gossip started was to make people dance - and I defy anyone to keep still while listening to Music For Men.

This album will get you through any winter blues . . . whether you just had an awful break-up, or are simply sick of being cold, Beth, Brace and Hannah will warm you up.

Tags: Music

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