DIFRANCO ANI - EDUCATED GUESS
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Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
|3. Educated Guess|
|5. Bliss Like This|
|6. True Story Of What Was|
|8. You Each Time|
|10. Grand Canyon|
|12. Rain Check|
In form, this is the disc DiFranco fans have wanted for years: a return to her naked roots of words and guitar, entirely played, sung, and taped to eight-track by Ani herself. But in important ways, Educated Guess suggests there is no going back. Even alone, the lessons of DiFranco's adventurous decade with a band are apparent. Taking a wide-open approach to arrangements, structure, and sound, she piles up tracks of bell-clear, percussive guitar, then does the same with her vocals, the gymnastic phrases echoing, reflecting, and doubling back on themselves. This is DiFranco undiluted, her melodies pulled by rhythmic innovation, alliterative snippets of spoken word woven between jazz-inflected folk songs, lyrics tracing tangled webs of lovers, nations, and various versions of herself. Not surprisingly, it's excessive, but her legions say that's the price of letting ragged passion just hang out. --Anders Smith Lindall
Top Customer Reviews
The Songs I'm Reviewing Are:
1.Platform: Cool spoken word piece
2.Swim: Loved the guitar work!
3.Origami: Great guitar work & even better lyrical writing...she does kick a jolt of reality into her listeners! Love it!
4.Bliss Like This: My favorite on guitar work....cool vocal intro....nice little ditty with cool rhythmical melody!
5.The Story Of What Was: Another spoken word piece...love how poetic she makes it sound!
6.Bodily: My favorite song on the CD in all regards...instrumental, vocal & writing...oh yes, that writing....wow..best sounding 12 string guitar song on CD!
7.You Each Time: Cool.....not one of my favorites but still noteworthy.
8.Animal: This song is okay to me...lyrics are great!
9.Grand Canyon:Another spoken word piece; politically motivated opinion piece. Really remarkable!
10.Company: This is another of my favorite songs on the CD. Just a 10++++++....check out the guitar work! Wow!
11.Raincheck: More uplifting song in tempo construction; nice tune!
12.Akimbo: Another spoken piece...interesting lyrical writing....nice instrumental with a bit of humming & strumming! Had
the feel that it belonged in some foreign land.
The set, which debuted at #1 on Billboard's Top Independent Albums tally (it also peaked at #37 on Billboard's Top 200 albums chart and fell to #5 on the Independent chart in its 2nd week), swaps professional-sounding studio production of last year's "Evolve" for the raw simplicity of the her eight-track tape recorder. While her least fine-tuned record perhaps ever in her career, the result is the kind of intimacy comparable to seeing her live from the front row at one of her excellent shows. Even though her voice and guitar will pour out of your speakers, she may as well be performing in your closet.
After the 16-second intro of "Platforms" follows "Swim," a lyrically dense track about escaping an oppressive relationship; doubtless a reference to her now ex-husband who she once jokingly referred to as "Goat Boy". Because of the rawness of the album, her voice has the most imperfect pitch of any of her studio recordings, and in some songs her voice takes on a particularly cartoonish characteristic. A perfect case in point is the nevertheless extremely catchy "Bliss Like This". Soon, however, the uniqueness of her vocals and the kind of guitar-strumming that takes years of practice will win listeners over.
In "Grand Canyon," Difranco dishes her feelings of love for her country, a place where she's seen "stewardesses whose hands look much older than their faces" and where "our foremothers and forefathers came singing through slaughter, came through hell and high water, so that we could stand here".Read more ›
DiFranco kicks off into a more acoustic style here. After a soft-spoken intro ("Platforms"), DiFranco kicks into the vibrant "Swim," the steady "Origami," and quirky "Bliss Like This" ("And I said Venice/and you heard Vegas/but now I say either way"). At that point the album goes down, with the spoken "True Story of What Was," feminism/America-themed "Grand Canyon," painful "Bubble" and meandering "Animal."
In the aftermath of her divorce, DiFranco can be excused for feeling down. Some songwriters take pain and unhappiness and shape them into brilliant music. Unfortunately "Educated Guess" feels like a distraction, not a catharsis. DiFranco's talent seeps through in places, but it feels like she is on autopilot.
The area in which DiFranco suffers the most is songwriting. "Your love is so colorful/it flashes like a neon sign," "I'll be your never ending vending machine" and "I am an all-powerful Amazon warrior/not just some sniveling girl" pepper this album. Even if they are meant to be ironic lines -- they don't come across that way -- they don't seem ironic.
What DiFranco excels at is the guitar work, which is still melodious and clear. It's solidly acoustic and vaguely jazz-like at times, hinting at what more she can do.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
People who don't understand a cd should not comment on it. Anybody who thinks the lyrics are dumb is not a fan of music. She is on her game as always. Read morePublished on June 4 2004 by N. Campbell
I purchased this album despite the negative reviews that I have been reading over and over again. YIKES.
WHAT can I say about this album? Read more
Many reviews of Ani's Educated Guess saddens me.
What matters most is whether the music, or song (even, part or a song), hold some significance to the listener. Read more
Let's be honest. Revelling/Reckoning and Evolve were disappointing efforts from Ani, and So Much Shouting/So Much Laughter was not quite up to par with Living in Clip. Read morePublished on March 20 2004 by Krucialkeys501
The real question here is who Ani's career will resemble in fifty years. Will she end up like a Bob Dylan, with a long string of records, more than a few real bad periods, but an... Read morePublished on March 13 2004
The last Ani CD I bought was the Revelling/Reckoning pkg, which I picked up at her concert in Portland, ME (before it's realease date). Read morePublished on March 10 2004 by Katrina
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