The Gossip close Music for Men with a song called "Spare Me from the Mold," but Beth Ditto, Nathan Paine, and Hannah Billie could never be accused of conforming. They were still a relatively underground group when Standing in the Way of Control's passionate mix of punk, soul, and disco became their breakthrough – and they sounded so confident on it, it felt like the mainstream was coming to them rather than vice versa. They've got their own piece of the pop (and pop culture) mainstream now, and Music for Men feels aboveground in the best possible way. Befitting its major-label debut, this is the band's most polished music yet, a balance of Control's ferocity and the sleek remixes of the album's singles, but it's still not slick. Most of Music for Men finds The Gossip sticking to their roots and using their success to get their messages out to as many people as possible. These songs are just as empowering as their earlier work, though they're more subtly defiant.
Radio 1 shows its female side on 4 March. Isolde Lasoen and band stroll with the fine fleur of Belgian female singers by more than half a century of female songs. Angèle, Marie Daulne (Zap Mama), Slongs Dievanongs, Lady Linn, Stefanie Callebaut (SX), Charlotte Adigéry (WWWater), Few Bits and Isolde themselves get their best with Aretha Franklin, Blondie, Nina Simone, Cindy Lauper, Billie Holiday, Feist , Sade, Dolly Parton, Janis Joplin, Suzanne Vega and Beyoncé above.
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