Gossip – A joyful noise

Looking through the comments on youtube videos of old Gossip songs is an uncomfortable exposé on how they hit the big-time in 2006. In amongst all the “you go girl”‘s and tiffs over the sex appeal of larger-than-life women, it doesn’t seem like anyone has anything to say about their music. Back then Beth Ditto may indeed have been a conversation starter, rivalling Adele as the epitome of the anti-model, defiantly baring her gargantuan buttocks in the direction of the twig-thin catwalkers of the glossy magazine rack, but once you stripped them of alternative fashion icon status, Gossip always seemed to be a little short of things to say.

For a band whose attitude has so completely defined their career to date, ditching riot grrl snarl to go boogie under the waning light of an irrelevant, deflated disco ball is nothing short of suicidal. But, by Jove, they’ve gone and done it anyway.

Rick Rubin’s swollen production on ‘Music For Men’ can be blamed for squeezing out the last of Gossip’s already dubious garage-punk credibility, and so it shouldn’t come as too big a surprise that with the recruiting of Brian Higgins (Pet Shop Boys, Sugarbabes) for ‘A Joyful Noise’, their sound has yet again been pushed in an awkward direction. Ditto’s sugar sweet Madonna impersonation, the embarrassingly dated synth sounds and a nauseating flood of boring pop slogans (‘the beat goes on’, ‘it’s now or never’) speak all too much of Higgin’s previous projects, and very little about a band in control of their own destiny. Let’s hope this is the last we’ll hear from them.

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