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.
Features the high-fidelity SHM-CD format (compatible with standard CD player) and the latest 24bit 192kHz remastering. Duke Pearson returned to a big band setting for Now Hear This!, once again proving his agility and inventiveness as an arranger and leader. Working with a larger band than before – the total number of musicians weighs in at 17 – Pearson nevertheless keeps things clean and uncluttered. His compositions, as well as the songs he covers, cover a broad range of emotions, styles, and tonal colors, with lush ballads taking the center stage. Even if much of this music is beautiful, Pearson's arrangements take chances and are unconventional, which means it rewards close listening as well.