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Canon [2 CDs] [Best of]

Ani Difranco Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Product Details


Disc: 1
1. Fire Door
2. God's Country
3. You Had Time
4. Buildings And Bridges
5. Coming Up
6. Cradle & All
7. Shy
8. 32 Flavors
9. Dilate
10. Distracted
See all 18 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Hello Birmingham
2. This Box Contains
3. Grey
4. Prison Prism
5. Marrow
6. Here For Now
7. Subdivision
8. Rain Check
9. Swim
10. Paradigm
See all 18 tracks on this disc

Product Description

Amazon.ca

The far-reaching lexis used to describe Buffalo, New York, singer/songwriter Ani DiFranco includes "influential," "persistent," and "cutting-edge." And 18 albums released in the 18 years since the launching of her own Righteous Babe record label means "prolific" must also be high on that list. DiFranco commemorates her nearly two decades in the business with a two-CD, 35-song retrospective that offers a sequential glimpse into the socially conscious messages and punk/folk articulation that has made her an international paladin. From early recordings such as "God's Country" (1993) and "You Had Time" (1994), where DiFranco took aim at religious autonomy and failed partnerships, to later songs that tackled violence against abortion providers (1999's "Hello Birmingham") and a pair of '80s-era presidents (2002's "Your Next Bold Move"), DiFranco's poetry-fraught lyrics are the unfeigned star of the compilation. Can't-miss selections like "32 Flavors," "Untouchable Face," and "Cradle & All" make the cut, while staunch DiFranco followers will be seduced by five new renditions of old favorites, including the intrepid "Napoleon," which blasts the rock-biz elite, and "Shameless," with its candid discourse on infidelity. The divinely packaged set includes a booklet thoroughly lined with lyrics and a recording dossier. --Scott Holter

Product Description

Throughout her career, Ani DiFranco has given her own take on tired rock star cliches. When other artists answered to major labels, she opted to start her own. While other guitarists relied on electric heroics, she pounded on a strangely tuned acoustic. And when faced with the task of releasing a career retrospective, DiFranco created anything but the traditional "greatest hits" package. Like everything else she creates, DiFranco made this record to her precise specifications, carefully selecting 36 songs from her voluminous back catalogue, including tunes from her first album and her 18th. As a result, "Canon" doesn't play like a greatest hits package, but an album that's arranged and intended to be played from beginning to end.

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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Compilation May 17 2008
Format:Audio CD
I am new to Ani, not having any of her albums from the 90s. I LOVE this compilation, as an introduction to her music or as a greatest hits retrospective for longer term Ani fans. I can't go more than a few days without getting a fix of her poetry: lyrics matched to voice, voice matched to rhythm, tempo and melody perfectly. It's just such good music, well crafted. When you're listening, you feel like it's just you and her.

The images stay with you: after my dreaded beheading I tied that sucker back on with a string / a roomful of women licking stamps and laughing (what a great commentary on immigration)/ I opened the fire door to four lips, none of which were mine, kissing. There are too many favourite lines to even try to give a sampling.

How about this, from Overlap:

I build each one of my songs
out of glass
so you can see me inside of them
I suppose
or you could just leave the image of me
in the backround, I guess
and watch your own reflection superimposed

That's what it feels like to listen. A thoughtful, refective, intimate conversation with someone really interesting, and all set to mood-matching music, whether it's playful, driving, contemplative or defiant. She does it all, exceptionally well. A musical poet for our time.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  21 reviews
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent...a little underwhelming Nov. 13 2007
By Deborah Zabone - Published on Amazon.com
I have been an Ani Difranco fan for over fourteen years - even having the pleasure of seeing her in small intimate venues before she became quite the force she is today. Like all Ani fans I was very pleased to hear she was "re-imagining" some of her classic songs on this compilation, but I feel kind of ambivalent about most of them. Definitely the two that stick out are "Both Hands" and "Overlap" because they really feel different than the originals, but "Your Next Bold Move," "Shameless," and "Napoleon" don't veer from the originals enough to live up to the hype.

As for the collection itself, I think it falls short in a lot of ways for both the old and new fans. Granted, it's incredibly difficult to sum up a career as prolific as Ani's (18 full-length albums and 3 ep's) in two discs because there are always going to feel like there are songs missing. I say Kudos to Ani for trying to make a career retrospective "that's arranged and intended to be played from beginning to end," as the review on her website says. However, since she's never had any legitimate radio hits, the entire line-up comes off as seeming really subjective. While retrospectives can irk the hardcore fans the most because they are so invested in their favorite songs, I am somewhat miffed that she couldn't find one single song off of Imperfectly to add to the collection (because I think that is easily the best album of her early career).

Overall, I think the first disc has a more accessible track list and is easier to be played over and over. These songs are definitely of a faster tempo because they are from the time in Ani's career when she was more of a folk-punk artist. The second disc is much more subdued being from her later jazzier period. While each has their own merits, I tend to prefer the earlier stuff more. Songs like "Buildings and Bridges," "32 Flavors," "Dilate," and "Little Plastic Castle" never disappoint, even after playing them for ten years.

In general, I think the old fans might be disappointed by the track listing here because it just doesn't do her justice. Whereas the Ani novice isn't really going to get a feel for the magic and intensity of her music just from listening to this compilation either. If retrospectives are a good way to introduce new fans to old music, then I'd recommend Living in Clip (the double-live CD she put out in 1997) or So Much Shouting So Much Laughter (the double-live one from 2002) instead. Both of those albums have a much better track listing than Canon and they are rich and full of Ani's energy, wit and banter to boot.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow ! Total Pleasure Sept. 15 2007
By Stephen B. Dwyer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I love Ani. Her music, her spirit...
I already own everything available by her, but I also like compilations, new ways of listening to what has become too familiar through addictive listening. Even though this compilation does not contain all of my favorites,(Rush Hour ?)... I was sort of pulled in by the advertised alternative versions of songs available here, (they are cool), but I was mostly hoping there might be an up gragde to cutting edge standards of the sound quality. Yippie eye aye, the sound quality met and surpassed all of my hope, uniformly clear and beautiful.
As a long time fan of Ani, I am really glad to own this compilation.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent starting point, but not a complete "greatest hits" anthology Dec 24 2007
By M. Senn - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Canon is an excellent starting point for new Ani DiFranco fans, but is by no means a complete "greatest hits" anthology. When creating this compilation, Ani chose songs that she has enjoyed performing over the years. The selected songs are not necessarily her biggest "hits". So although most of the most popular songs from her early folk-rock period are included, several fan favorites (Anticipate; Out of Range; In Or Out; Not A Pretty Girl; Angry Anymore; Swan Dive) are notably missing. From her later "jazzy" albums, again she omitted fan favorites like Evolve, Modulation and Recoil (which she rarely performs live but is her top ITunes download off her Knuckle Down album).

As for the five song "remakes", Both Hands and Overlap are awful when compared to the exquisitely beautiful originals. Shameless is interesting in that this is Ani's trademark rock-out song, but this version is played by just Ani and an electric guitar, sans drums. You can hardly tell that the other instruments are missing until the drum solo section (which is now a guitar solo). I found both Napoleon and Your Next Bold Move to be acceptable remakes, but unremarkable. Ani has done several other, better versions of Napoleon.

In general, the remakes were disconcerting to me because I'm not used to hearing Ani play an electric instead of acoustic guitar, and she sings the remakes in an unusually high-pitched voice (not sure why). Of the 5 remakes, Shameless is the most appealing, and I really hate the new Both Hands. Oddly, Ani's 2007 Canon tour featured a new arrangement of Untouchable Face that's fantastic and superior to any of the remakes on the Canon album. On her Canon tour, Ani's actual live performances of the "5 remakes" are both different from and far better than the versions on the Canon album.

As with all the recent albums from the Righteous Babe, the CD packaging (with complete lyrics and liner notes) is excellent and the sound quality is superb (My early Ani albums were on cassettes not CDs, so I may be comparing apples to oranges). So, Canon is a great compilation which provides an overall feel for the breadth of Ani's music, but should be treated as a starting point and not a comprehensive "best of" collection.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A nice re-introduction to Ani Difranco Oct. 29 2007
By E. Anderson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Back in my college days, I was a staunch supporter of the whole grassroots/DIY music scene. One of my favorite artists in this scene was Ani Difranco. I had read quite a bit about her and on a whim decided to check out her music. Unfortunately my taste in music changed over the years and my interest in Ani waned. Recently I tried listening her recent albums but I couldn't get into them. I was very pleased to see that she had finally put out a two disc greatest hits compilation called CANON. CANON did not disappoint me. It was a nice reminder to what made me fall in love with Ani's music. Between the two discs, disc one is my favorite because they contain all of my favorite Ani Difranco songs like "Little Plastic Castle" and "You Had Time". I couldn't get into disc 2 since I am not a huge fan of Ani's more recent material. I thought it was interesting that Ani would re-record a few of her classic songs on both discs. Most of them I didn't mind but I wasn't particularly fon do the re-recorded version of "Both Hands". I think the original version was perfect in every sense of the world. All in all, I think CANON is a good introduction to new Ani Difranco fans as well as a refresher course for old fans like myself.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars All of my favorite Ani songs on one album... Oct. 10 2007
By Wesley J. Daniel - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This album is a two-disc set of Ani's greatest hits...she also has new versions of a few songs. Her new version of "Napoleon" is terrible and the new version of "Both Hands" is quite poppy, but it is growing on me. This is definetly a great buy.
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