A Joyful Noise
Beth Ditto listened to nothing but ABBA for a year before Gossip got Xenomania (Girls Aloud, Kylie M) to produce its second Columbia effort. It's a combo Gossip could make a fabulous noise with. But Joyful kind of ... isn't. Dark, disco-fried beats land between mainstream and drag soundtrack without really hitting either's sweet spot. Meanwhile, with a few exceptions (the athletic "Perfect World"), Ditto's usually incendiary vocals feel weighted down, disconnected. As dance-pop goes, it's just fine. As a Gossip-worthy dance-pop deconstruction? It's a little short on the fabulous.