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Ani DiFranco


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Many might have heard of Ani DiFranco, many of you may be fans, many of you might have written her off as a militant feminist preachy type. But Ani DiFranco is extremely talented and important in a today's music industry.

 

First of all, she has an incredible beautiful voice. It runs the spectrum from ultra angry to fragail and delicate, but there is always real commanding power to her voice. She's got the kind of voice that sort of makes you pay attention. Secondly, she's a good guitarist. She's no a guitar heo or anything, but plays the acoustic pretty creatively at times and every now and then impressively fast. Thirdly, she's a really good song writer. She's a balls-out kinda writer. She lays it all out with no shame or remorse and tends not to hold back, but still has a good sense of humor about herself. Her lyrics are poetry that hold up on there own without music, but are complimented well by it, Bob Dylan style.

 

But I think she's most important because she's probably the most successful recording artist never to sign a record deal. She decided to start up her own record label because she wanted to do everything on her own terms. So now she's one of the few remaining artist who put out one studio album every year (she missed a few years, but also released two albums some years, overall: 12 LPs, 1 two disc LP, 1 EP and 2 two disc live albums since 1990). She has made like only 2 music videos, and makes about twice as much per album sale as most major recording artists.

 

In a time when there's like 4 major record labels and only one radio conglomerate, the washed down stale blandness of mainstream music is become more obvious every year, and it's good to know it's possible for musicians to forge their own paths. And make it with no radio or video support.

 

I only have two of her albums (though I've heard many songs off her other albums), but they are considered by many fans to be among her best, so I'll give you a run down of each.

 

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Not A Pretty Girl: Something of a breakthrough album for Ani. Angry, unforgiving, and introspective. This album is fueled by rage and sorrow. My personnal favorite track is 'The Million You Never Made'. It builds up slowly and my the last minute of the song it's a full out assault of emotion. Look up 'intense' in the dictionary, this song will be listed for reference. If you like it try 'Shy' and '32 Flavors' for a different tone and if you like those, get them all.

 

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Little Plastic Castle: A light hearted, sometimes mellow, sometimes goofy album. This album is much better for chilling to. Try listening to my favorite track, 'Fuel'. The lyrics are great and very free flowing. If you like 'Fuel', try out 'Little Plastic Castle' and 'Pixie'. If you liek those, check the rest out.

Edited by Jack's Meandering Thoughts
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  • 4 weeks later...

I'm a big fan of Ani myself Jax. You should check out "Out of Range" and her self-titled album as well. I think "Out of Range is pretty much her best. The only album I don't really dig is "Dialate." If you think "Not a Pretty Girl" is depressing...whew

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It's funny you mention it, since I started this thread, I got 'Dilate'. Not bad, but hasn't done for me what 'Not A Pretty Girl' or 'Little Plastic Castle' has done, but to be fair, I haven't given it many listens (jut one actually). I'll give it a few more chances to grow on me before I pass final judgement, but I'll make 'Out Of Range' my next Ani album, but right now, I'm busy expanding my White Stripes library.

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  • 1 month later...

A friend of a friend I knew through a listserver wanted to intro me to Ani's music, so he sent a mix tape from Maryland full of poorly reproduced, third-generation copies of songs: his favorites, soon to be my favorites. As each one of the songs on the album became memorized word for word as well as an anthem for me and my friend Kim, I found myself spending every dollar I brought to the first South florida visit of the Lilith Fair tour on Ani CDs because it was the first place I had actually ever seen one for sale. I bought Not a Pretty Girl and Out of Range. Since then, I have purchased nearly every album she has released.

 

If you listen to the raw wit, fury, and grace she displayson her early work such as Out of Habit and Both Hands or My I.Q., you see the passion of a young woman emerging into the world she will claim as her own through trial,pain, and triumph. But listen to each song as if it were teaching you something about her, about your ex-girlfriends, about yourself, and you will see an amazing growth process unfurling before your eyes. As Ms.DiFranco moves from humor and spirit in Shameless to the raw emotional power of Wish I May, you may notice the subtle transitioning of a young, playful city girl into a woman with powerful emotions wrapped in a world far more real than she'd like to admit. She matures: visible in her lyrics, in her storytelling, in her persuasive political messages, in her musical composition and experimentation.

 

She is capable of expressing thoughts so brilliant, humor so human, and pain so real that we can all relate. She bleeds herself into her songs, she becomes a real person, and she develops a rapor with her audience that very few musicians will ever hope to understand. Even more than that, seeing her in concert feels to old fans like going over to chill at a good friend's house. To people who have never even heard her songs before, seeing her in concert is like falling in love.

 

She is graceful, she is potent, and she is human.

 

:D

 

I would highly reccommend To the Teeth. Along with Little Plastic Castles (of which I also have a vinyl remix version) and Living In Clip this one is one of my all time favorite albums.

 

songs of note: (I may not remember all the appropriate source albums)

The Whole Night (Like I Said)

Out of Habit (Like I Said)

Shameless

Both Hands (Living in Clip version has a beautiful symphony intro)

Wish I May (to the Teeth)

Overlap

Come Away From It (Up Up Up)

Jukebox (Up Up Up)

Napoleon

Providence (to theTeeth)

Pulse (LPC)

Shy

How Have You Been(Out of Range)

Letter to a John(Out of Range)

The Diner

Roll With It

Work Your Way Out

She Said

Rush Hour

Loom (LPC)

As Is (LPC)

 

She also did an interesting cover of "Wishin and Hopin" on the soundtrack for My Best Friend's Wedding.

Edited by Athena
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Before Bush sent troops into Iraq, I was looking all over the internet for good anti-war songs. I found a bunch of good stuff by Lenny Kravitz, REM, Zach De La Roche (of Rage Against The Machine), John Melloncamp, among otehrs. But I wasn't blown away by anything except two of them. Billy Joe Armstrong (of Green Day) did an acoustic song called Life During Wartime (not a cover of the Talking Heads song of the same name), which really stuck me as truely honest, and real personal reflection of his feelings about the times.

 

But that was nothing compared to Self Evident, a live song by Ani of her 2002 live double album, So Much Shouting, So Much Laughter. Since listening to it, it has become my favorite Ani song. It really gets you inside her head and her heart and tears you up inside. This is an incredible song, even by Ani's own standards,a dn the only song that has captured the anger and helplessness I feel about the world since 9/11.

 

I recommend it as highly as I can recommend anything. Kat, you need to download this song.

Edited by Jack's Meandering Thoughts
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