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Ani DiFranco - Red Letter Year

  by Benjamin Howarth

published: 10 / 11 / 2008



Ani DiFranco - Red Letter Year
Label: Righteous Babe
Format: CD

intro

Stunning new album from feminist and folk artist Ani DiFranco, which after the bleakness of her last album 'Reprieve' finds her moving in a warmer, richer and more optimistic direction


Ani DiFranco’s new album begins much like her last, with some gently plucked notes, which seem to have popped into someone’s head as the tape was turned on. But that is where the comparisons end. Where ‘Reprieve’ was a bleak affair, almost uniformly melancholic and largely inspired by folk and jazz, this is warmer, richer and even fairly cheerful. The backdrop to this album is the birth of Ani’s first child, and it has made her outlook much sunnier. This is reflected in a melodic album, that enjoys richer arrangements, upbeat melodies, and some of her most enjoyable comparisons. But don’t go thinking everything has changed. She may be happier, but there is still anger, and her feminism remains undimmed - "I won’t pray to a male god, cuz that wud be insane", she rants, somewhat unpoetically. George W Bush may be packing his golf clubs and preparing to head back to Texas, but there is still time for one last dig, as he is dismissed as a man "with a monkey for a face." The tone of the album is perhaps best summed up by ‘Smiling Underneath’, where a long list of complaints are endured comfortably "as long as I’m with you." This is Ani at her very best, casually tuneful but also thoughtful. Time will tell where this ranks against her many earlier albums, but my first month with ‘Red Letter Year’ has seen it given over twenty listens, and I’m still not quite to grips with it. DiFranco fans will surely lap this up, while late adopters couldn’t find a better chance to catch up.



Track Listing:-
1 Red Letter Year
2 Alla This
3 Present Infant
4 Smiling Underneath
5 Way Tight
6 Emancipated Minor
7 Good Luck
8 Atom
9 Round a Pole
10 Landing Gear
11 Star Matter
12 Red Letter Year Reprise


Band Links:-
http://www.righteousbabe.com/
https://www.facebook.com/anidifranco
https://twitter.com/anidifranco
http://www.last.fm/music/Ani+DiFranco


Label Links:-
http://www.righteousbabe.com/



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live reviews


Union Chapel, London, 10/1/2012
Ani DiFranco - Union Chapel, London, 10/1/2012
Sarah Johnson watches American singer-songwriter and feminist Ani DiFranco play an energetic and immensely enjoyable set at the Union Chapel in London


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