230. Ani DiFranco – “Like I Said (Songs 1990-1991)”

And thus we embark upon a Cave-esque multi-review engagement with the considerable DiFranco catalogue (fear not, I will regularly intersperse some reviews of recent purchases and seasonally appropriate albums)…

Like with Nick Cave, I stumbled in Ani-World a few albums in.  Prompted by the rabid adoration of a friend, I first encountered her at the Port Fairy Folk Fest and (from about 10 feet away) was very taken with her powerful take on the folk schtick.

That was around Little Plastic Castle time, so this album was a later purchase.  It is not overly different from much of the early work. It’s just Ani slamming and plucking on her acoustic and spitting out highly personal, occasionally vitriolic compositions with very little other accompaniment.

I get both sides of the polarised Ani encounter issue that audiences have.  Her songwriting and delivery are confronting in the sense that there is so much confidence and rawness.  You either get completely enveloped, or repelled.  I lean considerably towards the former (obviously given all the purchases).

Having said that, this album is one I don’t listen to particularly regularly.  The strong tracks are very engrossing. Anticipate flows and jumps with excitement. Gratitude is mightily confronting. The Whole Night nails her trademark syncopation and vocal stylings.  Both Hands has some fantastic lines, while Out of Habit drops the c-bomb with aplomb.

The weakness is the spoken word which upsets the flow and doesn’t nail the beatpoet thang as well as later efforts.

File under: Better sung than said

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