Beth Ditto Slaps My Ass with Her Sequin Handbag

12 05 2011

I was so excited when I found out that Beth Ditto, frontwoman of the alternative/indie/dance band Gossip, had released her very own solo EP, titled, “Queen of the Homosexuals”. No. Just kidding. It’s called Beth Ditto. I love Ditto’s rich, mellifluous voice, so I was excited to see what style of music she’d pair it with on her own release, without the traditional band set-up she has relied on up until now.

And it’s been two months since its release, so I thought I should probably write about it already.

The chief track off the EP is “I Wrote the Book”, a dark, sexy, beat-laden romp reminiscent of late ’80s and early ’90s house music. As the 2000s come to a close and the 2010s emerge, we are, of course, wondering where the ’80s revival will take us. Well, apparently, it has taken us to the edge of the decade, back to the time when the clubs were filled with vogue dancers and the sounds of Chicago and New York were just beginning to hit the radio waves–if they ever did hit the radio waves. Dance music never hit the mainstream in America for some reason. At the same time, however, the interpretation of the house style and the technique sounds refreshingly modern, like the way house music would have been made if they had the technology back in the ’80s.

The video depicts Ditto frolicking around in a bathtub with thick, ominous make-up accentuating her catlike eyes, fixing herself up at a dressing table, and proceeding to dance around with a bunch of vogue dancers providing back-up behind her. Watching it is kind of like watching Madonna’s “Vogue” video, except Ditto has a haunting edginess and irresistible cynicism about her–plus the high glamour. Now that diva commands the stage.

If you like dark, punchy, edgy dance music buoyed by the smooth, luscious voice of a true, bad-ass diva with a seductively no-nonsense attitude, you really should buy this EP. It is a pleasure to see Ditto depart from her usual blue/rock sound and explore her more contemporary, synth-based dance-club sensibility. And it is such a relief to watch somebody who is just being herself, and not filling some sugary, prefabricated mould of what a female pop star is supposed to be.

This EP is all caprice, darkness, glamour, dance moves, and fashion, darling. Listening to it is like bathing in a pool of jewels, make-up compacts, lipstick tubes, high-heels, curling irons, stockings, old club music vinyls, and spilt glasses of Cristal. Gorgeous, darling. Gorgeous.

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