Beth Ditto – Fake Sugar

Album Review by Nadia Younes | 06 Jun 2017
  • Beth Ditto, Fake Sugar
Album title: Fake Sugar
Artist: Beth Ditto
Label: Virgin Records
Release date: 16 Jun

Gossip fans beware, this is not the same Beth Ditto that used to belt out garage-punk bangers; this is a brand new, mature Beth Ditto and this Beth Ditto is embracing her Southern roots.

Ditto’s vocals are as recognisable as ever: her raspy, whisky-soaked tone fits perfectly on the heavily Americana-influenced tracks that form her solo debut Fake Sugar. If Ditto’s aim here was to reinvent herself as a modern-day country queen then she has very much succeeded.

'Swing your partner / Do-si-do / You’re looking good in that sugar coat,' she sings on the eponymous track Fake Sugar, clearly highlighting the country influences that are present across the album. In and Out follows suit with its country-pop harmonies and infectious chorus and lead single Fire is so country it may as well be the only song on every jukebox in every American bar in the South.

Overall, this is a much softer Beth Ditto but her inner punk still manages to shine through on tracks like Go Baby Go and Oh My God. However, on We Could Run she combines the two, pairing pop sensibilities with her belting vocals and proving that country, punk and pop really can work together.

Fake Sugar is a real reinvention for Beth Ditto, but it’s not so much of a reinvention that her signature traits are unrecognisable. The country and Americana influences have always been there but now that she’s going it alone, she can embrace them fully and be the true country queen she’s always wanted to be.

Listen to: We Could Run, Fake Sugar