A Season of Songs, day 14: Heavy Cross

A Season of Songs is a type of Fun-A-Day project that I plan to do throughout this spring.  I’ll hit shuffle on the ol’ iPod and see what comes up.  I’ll then write a bit about that song, the band, the record, whatever.  Enjoy!

Heavy Cross” by Gossip from their 2009 album “Music for Men” is today’s song.

It’s a cruel cruel world, to face on your own,
A heavy cross, to carry along,
The lights are on, but everyone’s gone,
And it’s cruel

I picked up this album shortly after it came out having mostly been familiar with their earlier work as The Gossip (they would drop the “The” from the name in 2003).  Their earlier releases (the two I have are their first two albums – “That’s Not What I Heard” and “Movement”) had a more stripped down soulful rock sound with almost gospel-y vocals.  When I got this record, I was surprised to hear that their sound had evolved to have more of a pop/dance influence.  One may think that such a transition might not work, but I was pleased to see that it worked great for them.  The sounds are very disparate but I can actually imagine them transitioning live from one sound to the other with little difficulty.

While I enjoy “Heavy Cross” and the rest of this album, it does tend to be one of those albums that I only listen to/enjoy when the songs come up on shuffle.  If I actually choose to play a Gossip album, my first pick is the “Movement” LP — with the slow soulful building of “Night” to the upbeat urgency of “No No No”, it just has an energy to the songs that appeal to me and that I think really highlight singer Beth Ditto’s vocal capabilities.

Since all the songs for “A Season of Songs” are coming from my personal ipod, it may seem silly to say “I recommend you check this band out”, since I must obviously like these bands if I have them on my ipod.  But trust me, there is some stuff on there that I would willingly say “You don’t need to bother with this.”  However, (The) Gossip are a band that seems somewhat underrated.  I’d recommend you check them out if you’ve never listened to them; they have a lot to offer between their earlier and later records.


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