I’m tired of defending Beth Ditto. Not because she doesn’t deserve to have someone defending her, but because she shouldn’t have to be defended.
Yes, her behavior has been a little over the top. When you pose nude on the cover of NME, befriend Kate Moss and strip at Misshapes, people are bound to notice, and beyond that, they are bound to notice the wrong things. I don’t take issue with her behavior – what I do take issue with is everyone’s snide comments about her weight. The Gossip are a damn good band, and this whole business breaks my heart, because not only are people making snap judgments about her, they’re making them about the band. The Gossip are not just another hipster dance [rock/punk/electro/insert whatever genre here] band, and Beth Ditto has got a VOICE. So you’ve heard “Standing in the Way of Control.” So what? That song is rather uncharacteristic of so much that they do, what she can do. Yes, she has made herself an easy target, but she doesn’t deserve your blind hatred.
The Gossip: “Coal To Diamonds” (download)
Nothing proves Miss Ditto’s talent like this song. Just a simple guitar and bass line, a simple drum pattern – her voice is the song, her voice is the solo instrument. She uses melisma in a way that isn’t annoying, over the top, or makes her sound like she’s being electrocuted. She uses it the way it should be used – ever so delicately, ever so subtly. She uses it to show emotion, not just power. You can hear it from the first line: “I think I feel a little huuurt…” The lyrics are simple, but exacting. And relentless. They seem to be some sort of precursor, almost, to this whole situation: “well, nobody’s perfect / and I knew better / anyway.”