Elizabeth Scripturient (the delinquent, ecumenical (hermionesviolin) wrote,
Elizabeth Scripturient (the delinquent, ecumenical
hermionesviolin

reprieve (Ani DiFranco, 2006)

I'm not a fan of the musical experimentation Ani did with her last few albums.  revelling/reckoning (2001) and evolve (2003) took a long time to grow on me (the former especially), and I couldn't bring myself to listen to educated guess (2004) and knuckle down (2005) more than once each.  And we don't speak of so much shouting, so much laughter (2002).  So I had no expectations for reprieve (2006).

As it turns out, this album is the mellow evocative one might expect from the cover artwork.  (The artwork accompanying each lyric page is also very complementary.)  The lyrics are not the brilliance I am used to expecting from her, and I often notice similarities to earlier songs [though I guess that's to be expected, as there are only so many stories to be told] but it's actually enjoyable to listen to.  I am reminded of revelling/reckoning (and my experience therewith) a lot actually.  And frighteningly, I find myself wanting to give her last two albums another shot.

It sounds like I'm damning with faint praise, and maybe I am; but hey, I'm relieved.

***


hypnotized

For the first minute+thirty seconds it's just soft music.  I'm impressed.

i was surrounded by a language
in which i could only say hello
and thank you very much
but you spoke so i could understand
and i drew a treasure map on your hand


I like this song a lot.  The lyrics aren't brilliant, but aurally it really conveys what it's trying to do.  It's lovely and so easy to fall into, but the repetition of "hypnotized" is a bit creepy.

And the image of looking down at a worm in the rain really pings for me personally.

subconscious

Okay, I can't help but think of the opening of "evolve" as this song begins.

i ain't in the best shape
that i've ever been
but i know where i'm going
and it ain't where i've been


cf. "at least at the end of the day / i'm always somewhere else"

Yeah, not a particularly strong song.  It doesn't say much to me, and what it does say I feel like I've already heard.  (I'm also reminded of "i think i'll take the first one of you's home / that does something unique /  [...] / somebody do something / anything soon / i know i can't be the only / whatever i am in the room" though there's nothing explicit in the song alluding back to that.)  The idea of the subconscious being more real also feels familiar, though I'm not sure where from.

in the margins

I could chew the words of this for a long time.

The metaphor and literalism blur and almost frustrate me therefore, but I manage to pull back and just really love it.

Of course she wins me with

you are a rare bird
the kind i wouldn't even mind
writing in the margins of my books


'cause writing in books is such a visceral "no" for me.

[P.S. The disc itself is so sparse in decoration, and the one thing that's on it is the bird from this page.]

nicotine

love is a puzzle
some pieces they adjoin
it's not like that with us
but i keep flipping that coin


This really resonates with me (see also "school night," "untouchable face," etc.) and the song generally also has that whole "i've got a big crush on you and it's crushing my mind" theme going on, which I so totally get.

At first I was dissatisfied with the end -- thought it should have ended with her inability to forget him -- but on reflection it brings us back to the start, of how this person snuck in under her skin.

I dislike how brief the song is (in terms of how much wordage there actually is).

decree

step up and forfeit your frontal lobe
to the sexed up strobe of celebrity
never mind that the nanoseconds in between
are some of the darkest darkness you've ever known


A very promising beginning, but not a lyrically brilliant song.  There are some very powerful lines, though.

the stars are going out
and the stripes are getting bent


78% H2O

Huh.  I get the general gist of this but have difficulty following what exactly it means (see also "in the margins").  Reading the beginning immediately after reading the end I am intrigued by the connection, but in general it feels like the song isn't saying much (new).

millennium theater

Not a very good song.  Litany of things we don't like... I am not impressed.

patriarchies realign
while the ice caps melt
and new orleans bides her time
new orleans bides her time


This is the line all the articles talk about being written before Katrina, and even without any context I do really like that passage.

ladies and gentlemen
welcome to tonight's show
the millennium theater
asks that you not smoke
please turn off your cell phones
and forget what you think you know


I'm also intrigued by this (Cabaret).  And I wonder about her choice of placing it in the middle of the album (not an opener, not even preceding the really explicitly political song).

half-assed

This is the one of the few where the music picks up and gets interesting, and while I enjoy the mellowness that is most of this album, I really like the sound of this song.

so i'll be outside, in love with the kind of beauty
it takes more than eyes to know


("i have the kind of beauty that moves")

Generally, I find the theme of this song really interesting, primarily from a thinking-about-the-author perspective (and I am reminded of the articles mentioning how this is her 18th album since 1990).

reprieve

The website talks about the cover image and I am reminded of the lay minister on Sunday saying it was 61 years ago that day that the first bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.

The whole "great mother" theme is not my thing at all, but the first two stanzas are classic Ani brilliance (cf. "fuel").  Also which eggs I grow to term and feminism isn't about equality / it's about reprieve.

a spade

This feels very lame.  (Also, the accompanying artwork freaks me out.)

I like the idea about the answer is in the intersection / that lies behind the question, but mostly I really wasn't into or impressed by this song.

unrequited

I don't understand how the pieces of this song fit together into a cohesive whole.  I like the pieces, but--

shroud

This has some nice stuff, though I'm not particularly into the song and find a few bits a shade problematic.

reprise

This is just a minute and a half of music. A lovely close to the album.
Tags: ani difranco, music: albums
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