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Educated Guess

Ani Difranco Audio CD
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 18.14 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought

Product Details

1. Platforms
2. Swim
3. Educated Guess
4. Origami
5. Bliss Like This
6. True Story Of What Was
7. Bodily
8. You Each Time
9. Animal
10. Grand Canyon
11. Company
12. Rain Check
13. Akimbo
14. Bubble

Product Description

Product Description


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

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars An 'Educated Guess' Says You'll Like It Too... June 17 2004
Format:Audio CD
This latest release from Ani Difranco, a venerable veteran of folk music at age 33, is an interesting work of art, to say the very least.
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".
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3.0 out of 5 stars reaction to other review April 5 2004
Format:Audio CD
I bought this cd for my wife, who has been a fan in the past, but less so as time has gone by. I guess Ani has developed in a direction which some people feel ambivalent about. I had a hard time believing that person who wondered where Ani's career would be in 50 years (I guess that would put her in her mid-80's then), and then compared her to Bob Dylan, and Joni Mitchell. How long has Ani Difranco been performing? 15 years maybe? (yes it has been that long). If you look at the career trajectories of both Dylan and Joni- in 15 years they each went so much further in terms of musical development, and general impact. To say that Joni has been going downhill since Blue is just totally ridiculous, and shows a certain restricted attitude about music. I happen to like some of Ani's experiments with other instruments (and she would make a kick-ass drummer). I just don't know about this total self-absorption thing that she seems to do, and to compare her impact with Dylan or Joni, is just a total dreamscape. Bottom line- my wife asked me to sell the Ani disc; said it was boring.
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2.0 out of 5 stars A random "Guess" April 1 2004
Format:Audio CD
"Life knocked me off my platforms," indie rockster Ani DiFranco announces -- and it shows. The tone of "Educated Guess" is definitely downbeat, in a stream of songs where even the happier songs have a vaguely empty feeling. Moody is good. But "Educated Guess" is moody and lacking in substance.
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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best Ani Album since To the Teeth March 20 2004
Format:Audio CD
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. These factors suggested that Ani Difranco was washed up. Not so on Educated Guess, her most intimate work in years. The song "Swim" gets things started with brutal honesty and asounding simpleness. The lyrics to "Animal" are perhaps her most metaphoric and brilliant yet. Meanwhile, the poem "Grand Canyon" puts her feminist view points in perspective, and make us realize that she doesn't hate American afterall; she just feels the nation need drastic changes. Furthermore, her attitude is less serious on this album. On "Origami" she proclaims "I am an all powerful amazon warrior, not just some snivelling girl." One might think this as a parody of her earlier work, but I see it as tongue cheek, Difranco poking fun at her own mystique. All in all, this album brings Ani's career full circle and while people may feel it pales in comparison to her masterpieces Out of Range, Not a Pretty Girl, and Dilate, she mixes all the elements that has made her such a phenomenom. The result is a profoundly interesting record.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Great CD!
Ani DiFranco is nothing short of an original artist...she plays to her own rhythms...constructs what I like to call abstrakt music...sometimes having a choppy nature... Read more
Published on June 13 2012 by C. Preston
5.0 out of 5 stars Ani is beyond you
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 more
Published on June 4 2004 by N. Campbell
1.0 out of 5 stars Not a pretty album...
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
Published on April 17 2004 by stefanie lyon
5.0 out of 5 stars listen for yourself!!!
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
Published on April 13 2004
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad
Just grabbed this CD at the library...it was ok. Wouldn't buy it.
Published on April 4 2004 by "politicalnut"
5.0 out of 5 stars stellar
ani is back in force. stellar, stripped down joy and angst
Published on March 13 2004 by dave
3.0 out of 5 stars where ani is going next?
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 more
Published on March 13 2004
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed
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 more
Published on March 10 2004 by Katrina
3.0 out of 5 stars Ani newcomer
As an Ani first timer.. I picked up this album based on the guitar melodies alone. But as I listened in... and as I did, I have really grown to enjoy this album. Read more
Published on March 9 2004 by John B.
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