This was Ani DiFranco's first really synthesized, fancily-produced album. And it's a whole different world from the style she was known for before this. Listening to this is definitely like being introduced to a whole new artist. There are more electronics, more experimental song styles, and even her voice has changed a little -- it's a tad raspier.
The lyrics are still just as good -- but don't buy it expecting the old Ani ... you have to love it as something completely new.
And I DID love it!
The songs are made not more watery, but more powerful by the elaborate compositions. The topics capture so many sides of life -- from the pretty to the dark.
One song urges rude people to "just suck up and be nice".
Another song, whose entire atmosphere tells of a desperate hour proclaims, "If you think you know what I'm doing wrong, you're gonna have to get in line."
GRAVEL has a catchy, hardcore beat and really gets across the humor in having an ex that you just seem to keep taking back, no matter what he does.
And it all leads up to the climax -- the final song -- that is more of a hypnotic symphony than a song. It only has a few spoken words -- the rest it says in its swaying rhythm -- but it is absolutely powerful. An expected pinnacle.
The first song or two on the album are just warm-ups. Skip past them to really delve into the riches of this outstanding record.
This album is not to be missed by anyone who likes true-to-the-heart, poignant, powerful experimental music.