Saturday, 30 June 2012

The 2kDozen 500: #247 - Gossip, "A Joyful Noise"

Were there a fence over which to Gossip, I'm sure which side of it I would sit, if not on it. First encountered them at a sweaty ATP room and wasn't too bothered. Then the big hit and it was good fun to see Beth Ditto cropping up here, there and everywhere: it felt a bit punk rock, celebrating differences (even in a token way much of the time). Then relative quiet? I'm not sure as I moved out of that room a few years ago now, not picked up an NME in anger in some time.

It seems to have been built around Ditto, this band. I can't quite explain why, but she reminds me of Madonna. There's a kind of snotty ambition that reminds me of Eighties Madge; but there's also something else, a similar emotional tenor in her voice. Somewhere between celebration and pain, or a mingling of both, like finishing a marathon. Maybe "A Joyful Noise", Coc? (Oh, aye, yeah. Thanks.) Loads of Eightes track fades too...

"It was adorable when you were in your twenties/Not so cute any more now that you're pushing thirty/You better get a job" comes from a different angle than "Material Girl" though, I guess. "What kind of life is it when every day's a weekend?" Some of those Southern Baptist work ethic morals showing their teeth. It's an unusual setting for it, but I like it for that. "Move In The Right Direction" is the kind of positivist clomping disco that usually sets my phasers to Meh, but something about the lyrics keeps it on the right side and I like the Boney M string-slide noises.

I like music obviously built from the bass up, that pushes bass to the front. This is an album about relationships: "You fail to break the silence/..We'll self-destruct together/It's all over now." And there is plenty of space in the production for words for hang in the air. "Get Lost" turns the sound of "Good Life" by Inner City upside down lyrically with the house piano sounding that bit less euphoric and that bit more spiky.

A flash of the Jack Whites at the beginning of "Horns", which might be about self-confidence about trolls and bullies not realising what they do, or something. The title seems to come from the fact there's brass on it. I think Gossip should do the next Bond movie film. "They mean not what they say/So chase the dogs away." Are those the Churchillian black dogs of depression?

"I'm on a first name basis with your victims of love," Beth snarls (not snarls, but I can't think of the word) over a pleasingly chunky house beat. Shit, she REALLY sounds like Madonna. "If blame is the name of the game/Then I won't play". Damn! I like her style. She sounds like she'd make an ace buddy. "Love In A Foreign Place" is a walk of shame anthem, so I can excuse it sounded a bit Katie Perry. "All I ever wanted was so much more/Than life in a small town." All good.

Rating: Madonna It's OK To Like out of Work Ethic And Compassion

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