Contrary to popular belief, most pop culture critics worth their salt enjoy admitting when they are wrong. “Heavy Cross,” the first single from Gossip’s Rick Rubin-produced debut for Columbia, initially hit my ears in all the wrong ways. It’s a shiny, precisely engineered dance floor anthem that lacked the grit and soul that originally attracted me to now-iconic frontwoman Beth Ditto nearly a decade ago. It sounded like a thinner, user-friendly version of “Standing in the Way of Control” and was such a turn off that exploring the rest of the album took me several months. Glad I finally dug in, because the opening track alone makes Music For Men entirely worth the investment. True to its title, “Dimestore Diamond” is indeed a dark, glorious jewel masquerading under the simple, but entirely riveting percussion work of drummer Hannah Billie, the long under-appreciated anchor of the group. I now stand in solidarity on the dance floor, happily corrected. With MEN, Champagne Champagne. All ages. Photo courtesy Larissa James. HANNAH LEVIN

Fri., Oct. 23, 8 p.m., 2009

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