Aaah, Ani DiFranco. My favorite subject (not really, but close). Where to start?
She does seem to have an angst-ridden angry reputation, and at times that is well deserved. But if you take the whole body of her work, it’s really an unfair image to pin on her. I’m always trying to explain her appeal to people, and I think that it comes down to flexibility. Pick a musical style, tone, and flavor, and she’s dabbled in it. Her style has at times changed very rapidly, and without notice.
I think that the trick with Ani DiFranco is to ignore others’ opinions and her “image”, and listen. There are a few reasons for this.
1 - In the beginning, she was very angry, very open, and very vocal. This attracted a force of angry adolescent girls, and a few very brave guys. When she started moving away from that image, and towards musical experimentation, she alienated alot of them (“This doesn’t sound like Ani!” etc). Because of this, you will hear many people expressing the opinion that she “sold out”, to which I say :rolleyes:
2 - Because her fans are usually so rabid, people are scared away or annoyed by them. Really. Try mispronouncing her name sometime.
3 - It’s easy to focus on her political stance, and miss the rest of what she has to offer. She does have many political songs, but again, they’re only a small example of her capabilities. I happen to agree with her on alot of issues, but it’s not necessary to enjoy her music.
4 - Her music basically speaks for itself. It’s up-front. But because of her range, there really is alot there to discover.
5 - Even if you’re fully prepared to love her, you could hear her and hate everything about her. It happens.
Recommendations? Not a Pretty Girl is where I started, but it might not be best for someone who’s first hearing her. It has incredible emotion, but can be exhausting to listen to. I would recommend Up up up up up up to begin with, simply because it is a phenomenal album. Every song on it is good. Her more recent albums are slower, and more introspective. Revelling/Reckoning is very good and very involved, but very sad.
I ran into her by accident, and loved her music right away. I still love almost everything she’s ever done, and I know she’s influenced my life, as any good music should. Anyway, no matter what your opinion is, you have to respect the fact that she worked incredibly hard to get where she is, and did it while being true to herself.
Joyfulgirl, who is not a checkbook liberal or a radical