Tuesday, February 22, 2011

EP, Beth Ditto (2011)

I have been a fan of Gossip for a few years now. I love their earlier work (Movement) and how it seems to come from the Led Zeppelin-esque Black Keys genre of blues alt-rock. And I adore the band's growth. The groups most recent album, Music for Men, was a much more pop influenced album than anything they'd released previously. I heard many fans grew annoyed at this change. It seemed to make perfect sense to me. Beth Ditto is in every sense a pop star. Alright, maybe not every sense... but, it is there. In the way she moves, dresses, speaks.

On hearing Ditto was releasing a solo EP I found my eyes rolling and an annoyed grown coming from my throat. I don't like lead singers that go off on their own to create solo careers. Just stick with the band. What could be so horribly awful that you have to destroy a good thing?

In the case of Ditto's EP, it isn't so much a desire to go solo. The EP is more of an experience to be playful. In 2009, Simian Mobile Disco released the album Temporary Pleasure. One of the best tracks off this album is an incredible dance driven track featuring the vocals of Beth Ditto, "Cruel Intentions." EP is meant as a way for Simian Mobile Disco and Beth Ditto to work together, again. This isn't Ditto living out some solo dream. This is a chance for change without being thought of as giving up on "the Gossip sound."

The first single from EP, and best track, is "I Wrote the Book." The song feels to be very similar to "Cruel Intentions." This is possibly why I love the song as much as I do. The song is about heartbreak. Nothing new. But, her lyrics are sharp and feisty: 'revenge, regret, I wrote the book.' The single comes with a video. Clearly a nod (and slight copy) of Madonna's "Justify My Love" video. Filled with black and white shots of hotel rooms and hallways. Men dancing, prancing. Ditto strutting around. Although, this is certainly the PG rated version of the Madonna video.

My least favorite track on the 4-track EP is "Goodnight, Good Morning." The song has a great start and great first half. But, the song is 7 minutes long. On an album 4 songs long and 22 minutes in lenght, 7 minutes can start to feel a little on the distracting side. Of course, I'm not suggesting the song is bad. Just a little more noticeable that I would like it to be.

The EP is a great example of the power of Ditto's voice and lyrics. The great music supplied by Simian Mobile Disco really adds a new sound to the Ditto history.


No comments:

Post a Comment