Ani Di Franco
Righteous Babe Records/Aveline Records
Very Thought Provoking and Challenging Songs.
Ani Di Franco is one of those artists whose name I recognise but know absolutely nothing about; which meant this album has been moved around the RMHQ desk several times recently, from ‘urgent’ to ‘to-do’ to ‘maybe’ and back again several times.
Then on Friday Chastity Brown talked about Ani Di Franco in glowing terms; so it’s now on the office stereo for the second time this morning.
The title track BINARY opens the record and; sadly had me curling my lip the first time I heard it, primarily because of the Electro-Pop back beat that accompanies several vocal overdubs; but by the second outing Di Franco’s expressive poetic hip-hop lite lyrics are starting to win me over.
Straight away the following song Pacifist’s Lament was more ‘up my street’. It’s easy to let this lovely musical interlude wash over you; but as I was told in no uncertain terms on Friday…..listen to her words…..they may be shrouded inside a clever production; but when I took the time to listen carefully Ani Di Franco is a very insightful and powerful songwriter. Who knew?
Written prior to the latest American Elections Di Franco was very involved in getting young people to vote; and that ‘political activism’ comes across in Play God and Terrifying Sight; but the insightful way she unfurls the story in Almighty; set to a mystical almost Eastern tune.
Perhaps it’s because I’m a ‘man of a certain age’ but BINARY and many songs therein has been a challenge for me; with the rocky Spider and the more easy on the ear piece of Beat-Poetry Sasquatch sounding like the type of intellectual songs that people will argue of the meaning of for years to come; rather than the transient music I normally listen to.
With all of that in mind it hasn’t been easy to choose a ‘favourite’ song. At first I thought it would be Zizzing; as it’s a great word and surely beckons a frothy tune…..oh dear Lord no! The first minute is a dark piece of epic cinematic proportions, then Ani slides into the mix with an even darker tale of imminent death and destruction for mankind (I think).
What I will go for is the final track, Deferred Gratification. Another very articulate and intelligent song probably aimed at brighter people than me; but probably the most ‘traditional’ of singer-songwriter type songs that I recognise on this disc.
Released June 9th 2017