Review: Beth Ditto's 'Fake Sugar' - Rolling Stone
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Review: Beth Ditto’s Explosive Vocals Hold Together Far-Roaming Solo Debut

Our take on the former Gossip vocalist’s debut full-length

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Beth Ditt's debut full-length is 'Fake Sugar.'

Courtesy of Virgin Records

During the ’00s, when she fronted post-riot grrrl rockers the Gossip, Arkansas-bred singer Beth Ditto could be one of the most explosive vocalists around, a tumultuously raw belter and an overpowering stage presence. With the Gossip no more, Ditto’s solo debut is a continuation of her former band’s evolution from garage-y primitivism to a more polished sound where Ditto’s vocals approached a smoother grandeur sometimes akin to Laura Branigan or Adele. Her solo debut links that big ambition back to her personal roots, for a wide-roaming vision of Southern rock and pop, ranging from Sixties soul to Seventies punk to Eighties soft-rock to a more modern danceability, at times suggesting Blondie if they’d got their start at Muscle Shoals. The danceable charmer “In and Out” is taught, frothy retro-soul with Ditto balancing cool delivery and warm gravitas. “Fake Sugar” refracts country-blues guitar off a glitchy groove with Ditto showing the down-home chops of a Nashville pro. “Go Baby Go” is a moving tribute to departed Suicide frontman Alan Vega, teasing out the girl-group side of the iconic’s New York proto-punk band’s sound. It’s impressive how well a moment like that sits next to an MOR ballad like “Love in Real Life” or the wild-hearted disco-rock of “Do You Want Me To.” All that holds it all together is Ditto’s estimable firepower.

In This Article: Beth Ditto

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