Beth Ditto has had an unconventional path to success in music as well as fashion, even having modelled for Jean Paul Gaultier and launching her own plus size fashion label. Beth grew up poor in Arkansas and later moved to Washington as an eighteen year old in 1999. While there, she started the indie-disco band Gossip who experienced success in the industry. Beth has always done things exactly her way whether she caused controversy in her wake or not, using her music as a platform to support causes she unbendingly stands by.
Fake Sugar is Beth Ditto’s debut solo album. In it she presents her punk rock aptitude, punctuated by a popping bass with a touch of palatable pop. Listen to the lead single Fire and you’ll know what I’m talking about. She certainly revives the aesthetic of the free spirited rock ‘n roll sound of the 60’s, giving it new relevance. This is apparent in her peculiar vocalisation akin to that of Janis Joplin, soft brushed harmonies typical of groups like The Mamas & The Papas and her quipping lyric’s social commentary. The album also has a touch of 80’s influence as in the pop ballad sound of We Could Run. The album is musically strong, offering a different approach to the style. The textural play in the track Savoire Faire with its minimal guitar entries and bass, contrasted by a full and thick chorus is well balanced.
In an era of cookie cutter pop stars (who claim to break the mould) Beth Ditto truly does break it. Her creativity stems from authenticity and self-assuredness. Her confidence is infectious and her music is groovy.