…at least so far: I finally sat down and listened to the Ani DiFranco CD my sister got me, maybe a decade ago.
Before I continue, one funny note: I knew about Ani DiFranco before she did; I remember, albeit hazily, seeing video of a bald chick playing ferocious acoustic guitar in weird tunings on a public access channel in Boston. As is often the case with seeing things in weird venues like that, they never told me who the fuck it was I was watching. So, you know, years and years pass…
Anyway, I’ve had this on the shelf forever, listened to it once or twice, and I let it sit. For whatever reason, I wrote her off as too earnest, too literalist, I dunno, too unsubtle.
As often seems to be the case, I wish there were some effective way to reach back and slap the me of ten years ago.
Which isn’t to say that I think the music will appeal to everyone; it’s demanding in its lack of sentimentality–I think that’s what I had perceived as earnestness before–and at least in her older material, well, it’s mostly the narrative of intrapersonal relationships, so it’s not entirely outre to suggest that it sometimes sounds like a few songs repeated endlessly. And it’s all pretty specifically political. And sometimes It seems lyrically awkward, though sometimes that very awkwardness comes, after repeated listening, to seem inevitable and necessary.
But it’s also music that speaks of joy and hope and possibilities in a very unambiguous way.
And she can play the fuck out of a guitar.