On their fifth studio album, A Joyful Noise, Gossip teamed up with pop production royalty Brian Higgins of Xenomania (Kylie Minogue, Girls Aloud, Florrie) which I would have found a surprising choice if not for the pop leanings of their near perfect Music For Men album released back in 2010.
The production on A Joyful Noise is highly polished, Higgins is a master of his craft after all. It’s armed to the teeth with brilliantly crafted pop jams on which Ditto’s voice is still the star. She listened to a lot of ABBA in the run up to recording the album, and while there are no direct influences I can pinpoint, many of the songs do have a disco feel. It’s not just throwaway dance music though, even on the really heavy dance tracks Beth’s voice has such an emotional quality you find yourself somewhere between sadness and sheer happiness.
The lead single A Perfect World, a near perfect power pop ballad with an orgasmic blend of soaring vocals, atmospheric drums and guitars, and subdued synths nicely sets the tone for the album. Then there’s my favorite Get Lost which takes cues from 90s House – including shades of Inner City‘s Good Life – and boasts a familiar infectious dance beat with Ditto’s voice soaring over the top.
The fantastic Get A Job starts off with an unexpected semi rap ‘I’d love to stay and party, but I’ve gotta go to work’ muted guitars and thrashing drums make this into a slick dance number. You can hear Ditto’s frustration from being in a relationship with someone who fed off her, saying ‘It was adorable when you were in your 20′s, it’s not so cute anymore now that you’re pushing 30.’
Shimmering Move In The Right Direction, is in my book an instant classic, Ditto cheerfully sings about finding the motivation to face your fears backed by a stomping beat.
Although the critics are once again going to claim that they’ve abandoned their rock roots in a bid for commercial success, personally I think it’s great that they are not afraid to try different genres, I would likely be bored if they just kept shoving out the same album every two years.
If you’re a fan of expertly crafted pop music and can leave your expectations of previous Gossip material at the door I’m sure you’ll be very impressed. A Joyful Noise is set for release on May 22nd.
If the above stream doesn’t work for you check it out at Gossip’s website. What are your favorite tracks from the stream so far?