Words: Louise Bruton
Some of the greatest pop songs are doused in melancholy but disguised as something sugary and Gossip's latest album, A Joyful Noise, puts this charade to practice. In fact, the feisty Beth Ditto admitted to listening solely to ABBA, the forefathers of despondent-yet-cheery music, during the making of this album. And the result? The beats are hypnotic.
The deliverance is sassy and if the lyrics horridly hit home, in the vein of Ultravox's 'Dancing With Tears In My Eyes', we can simply dance our doldrums away. Genius. Our leading lady's voice takes a delicate approach on this record and earnestly sings lines like "I'm not as strong as you thought I was" on the stripped-down, emotional roller-coaster that is 'Casualties of War' and "I'm not in love with you, I'm just involved with you" on the equally raw 'Involved'.
This album is brutally honest and empowering and with the magical production from Xenomania (Girls Aloud, Sugababes, Kylie Minogue), it is a mouth-watering slice of alt-pop. The sultry opening number, 'Melody Emergency', presents a Ditto who is out to address those who wronged her. On 'Get A Job', her voice hops from melodic to robotic as she lambasts waster friends who rely on their looks to get by in life.
The 90s-dance inspired 'Get Lost' adds funk to the fire of kicking a good-for-nothing ex out of the picture. If this album is about revenge, then it is revenge served sweet. Ditto is executing her demons and it has created an album that borders on perfection. Gossip's breakthrough track, 'Standing In The Way Of Control', was brazen and self-assured. Six years later, that self-assurance remains and Gossip have proved that they can rock any dance floor and if we're crying, it's just because they have hit every nail on the head.