Is it just me or do the words “I wanna be your dog” sound a bit whorish coming from a woman’s mouth? Excuse me? No, I don’t go for that sort of thing. But some adoring fans may very well enjoy Beth Ditto’s attempt at an unnaturally aggressive cover of the 1969 Stooges song, which is performed collaboratively between the Gossip and Chromatics as a finale to Undead in NYC.
The live album was recorded during a June 2002 concert at NYC’s Knitting Factory. It consists of nine tracks that are a tad difficult to use as car sing-along material, given the poor overall sound quality. The editing is rough: Ditto’s banter with the crowd, which follows most of the songs, is often cut short, making for terribly choppy transitions. The songs themselves are recognizable, but they’re drowned in static, giving the album a tin-like quality.
Then again, albums that sound like tin typically fall under “garage rock,” and the Gossip’s opinionated lead singer insists before the start of “Non Non Non” (called “No No No” in the final version on Movement) that this band is not a victim of the garage trend but is instead “a pop band.” More effectively put, this CD is the musical equivalent of canned corn, provided the corn and the can remain as one.
You bitch! The Gossip is a wonderful live band!
If this is you, the reader, making this exclamation after reading the previous 226 words, then imagine my dismay when I heard the album. Don’t get me wrong — the Gossip is a great live band. In fact, all nine of these songs are bursting with energy. But concerts are typically better in person than on record, and unless you’re a historically classic band, you just don’t deserve to record a show and sell it for the same price as a studio album. As a fan of the Gossip, I’m almost ashamed to accept being called a bitch if it means disliking Undead in NYC.
If you’re still curious about the album, here’s a summary. It’s a combination of songs from 2002’s Arkansas Heat EP and early versions of songs from 2003’s Movement. And it’s bass heavy, particularly considering the lack of bass player (and please, no comparing this so-called pop band to other guitar/drum duos like the Black Keys, White Stripes, or Yeah Yeah Yeahs — they’re all garage bands, which is considered the Devil’s music in the pop world).
If you need visual stimulation to take in the full excitement of a concert, visit Punkcast.com. You’ll see topless fans and bra-clad band members, and you’ll spare yourself the effort of having to listen to more than two songs. Oh, and one of those two songs happens to be the climactic “I Wanna Be Your Dog,” which just may cause you to rip your shirt off in spirit and imitate the prominent lead singer’s shrill screech.