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Beth Ditto belts out lyrics with voice that comes straight from the belly, and what a belly it is. The 200-pound lead singer of Gossip has been all over the press in recent months for her apple-shaped figure and uncompromising style.

But the attention should really go to that voice of hers, with all the strength of a Broadway leading lady and rage befitting the front woman of a punk band. If listeners prefer, say, the honey-coated vocals of artists like Estelle, Ditto may come off as shrill. But sounding pretty isn’t really the goal of this edgy dame.

One standout track is “Four Letter Word,” with a bass line rhythm that doesn’t quit and lyrics like, “L is for leaving/ O is for on time/ V is for the voices warning me I’ll lose my mind/ E is for the ending ... of the four letter word.”

In the album’s closing track, Ditto screams its title, “Spare Me From the Mold,” a message that she solidly conveys as a plus-size activist lesbian who poses in the nude. And with her out in front, Gossip is a band that surely defies the typical, in image as well as musicality. By Hannah Bae


“Music for Men”

Label: Columbia

Genre: Punk
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