Gossip - Music For Men
Washington trio Gossip have come a long way since their early days. Their new album, Music For Men, sees then continue their migration away from their screeching Riot Grrl origins.
Uber-producer Rick Rubin is at the helm for this one. The results are slick and polished dance-infused rock. In the best instances this works very well. The opener, "Dimestore Diamond", for example features a catchy methodical groove. "Heavy Cross" is a vibrant dance-rock number in the spirit of Franz Ferdinand.
Too many tracks on the album however are disco-inspired, sanitized numbers. "Love Long Distance", "Men In Love", and "For Keeps" are sterile and uninspired, as is "Pop Goes the World" (disappointingly not a Men Without Hats cover). "Vertical Rhythm" is simply monotonous, while "2012" lifts the vocal cadence from KISS's "I Was Made For Loving You" and plops it atop a backing track that takes heavy cues from Blondie's "Call Me".
Only "8th Wonder" gives us a glimpse of the band's fiery punk past. We do get a promising glimpse at Gossip's potential future though. The album closer "Four Letter Word" makes interesting use of computerized music, introducing blips and bloops into a tense musical atmosphere.
Singer Beth Ditto seems to benefit the most from Rubin's presence. Her vocals are more controlled and polished. In fact, Ditto herself sounds better than ever on this record.
A handful of moments aside, Music For Men is imminently forgettable.
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on 2009-08-05 Archelon Said:
Great review - totally agree. After 'Heavy Cross' I was expecting great things but almost everything else on the album was too one-dimensional for their sound. Agree also with the comment about Ditto's voice - it's the only things that slightly redeems the album for me.