Ani DiFranco/Bhi Bhiman
Two Albums That Begin With Excellent Songs About Homelessness, and There Will Be More
Ani DiFranco: ¿Which Side Are You On? (Righteous Babe)
After a decade of futzing around, of music so overthought that even her best-of couldn't make a case for it, this one's like re-encountering a friend who drifted away after she took a bad job or married a jerk. Both of which might have happened‑-nobody she signed to Righteous Babe did much for her bottom line, and the nuptials that ruffled her feminist faithful in 1998 ended badly in 2003. Now, finally, her first album since she married her five-year-old's father is as fresh as Lisa Lee at the top of the key. With Uncle Pete signing on via banjogram, the title song announces a political renewal so focused on the three-syllable F-word that it includes an E.R.A. anthem. But for DiFranco the political has always been personal, which doesn't mean private and can mean intellectualized, as in "Promiscuity." The singing on the homelessness tale that opens is as emotionally accomplished as its assumed first-person is formally atypical. The one that reads "If yr not getting happier as you get older/then yr fucking up" is her true credo. A MINUS
Bhi Bhiman: Bhiman (Redeye)
In an unruffled show of assimilative will, this Sri Lankan American 29-year-old channels John Hurt and the Staple Singers into sweet, firm folksongs about injustice's cruelty and love's confusions‑-and is funnier about both than, as a random instance, Van Morrison. The stolid beats define the limits of his Americanization. But from the first strums of "The Guttersnipe," the melodies are universal language at its most outgoing. A MINUS
See, I was able to do that without calling him an idiot.
OK, who broke your heart? Get it out. We can help you through this.
I really don't follow you in your idea that Miss Dumbpoutyface is a big regression in pop music. Is it because she has big lips? You don't like sexy music performed by women, so surely you don't think Madonna, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Janet Jackson, etc. had much to offer. I'm wondering, Miss Dumbpoutyface is a regression from what? From pop music created by men? Or is it that pop music before her was represented entirely by Amy Winehouse for you? And she talks about drugs more than sex, so it's all good.
I love fluff when fluff is fluffy.
I don't hate women
Jon, considering that DiFranco first performed the song with Pete Seeger at his Madison Square Garden 90th birthday celebration back in May 2009, that she's performed the song in her live shows ever since, and that this album was recorded between 2010 and mid-2011 - yeah, I do think she'd make such an anthem regardless of who gift-wrapped it for her (and this coming from a DiFranco agnostic).
Madonna, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Janet JacksonEach and everyone of those artists certainly has their moments. I was on a big "Like a Prayer" kick a few weeks back.
But I find LDR a regression from pop with soul, meaning, and purpose. I realize not all pop stars or pop songs have those ingredients, but for someone who enjoys pop with a side of personality, LDR's eye-batting-and-lip-pouting-as-substance is insulting to me. Just buy a vibrator and leave me alone. I like girls with confidence and brains, not neediness and a lackluster voice.
Oh, and pussy certainly isn't icky - like Rihanna's music is. Now Beyonce? Her music is just as awesome as her pussy must be. Wait... did I just step on a few more toes? Sorry I'm not sorry.
Never been sold on "Beyond Belief". A first track should punch harder.
"The Loved Ones" is also right on the cusp of four stars to five.
It's still hard to turn w h o k i l l off once I click Play. Repeat is more like it.
Which come out when, exactly? I want to mark it on my calendar.
but your snide comments about female musicians definitely belie some sort of...issue.Rihanna and Lana Del Rey are puppets - not musicians. Snide is all I can be towards them and their hollow, insipid music. Tune-Yards, on the other hand, has all the respect I can give - which is plenty enough. And as far as my comparison between the Gatsby "women-should-remain-fools" quote and Miss Del Rey, I was merely making note of how big a regression she represents in pop music. Amy Winehouse (to come up with an example off the top of my head) had perspective, depth and a personality to her music - even if all three of those elements had some limitations to them. While Winehouse is (er.. was?) out and about in the world getting miserable and dirty and learning a thing or two about living, Del Rey stays in her room and writes in her diary about nothing more than fluff - which isn't a bad thing in particular. I love fluff when fluff is fluffy. But what's fluff without a personality or point of view? Really bad fluff. It's made even worse when a stupid facial expression (ie: pouting) is supposed to embody substance or dramatic depth.
Lucky for you I give remedial lessons in woman-loving. Hahahaha as if you'd ever wanna be within 10 feet of me...or I youI'd more than happily come within 10 feet of you, or anyone on this blog. Hell, I'd even buy you (or anyone else) a drink should we ever have a chance meeting in person - it's called Hoosier Hospitality. Maybe I'd ask the bartedner if there is such a cocktail as a Chauvinist's Delight? Bet it tastes like repression. I certainly wouldn't know.
Well we'll cross that off the list of potential reasons you hate women. Back to the drawing board....
'I am the female Weezy.' Well, you heard it!
about the blogger
Starting in 1967, Robert Christgau has covered popular music for The Village Voice, Esquire, Blender, Playboy, Rolling Stone, and many other publications. He teaches in New York University's Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music, maintains a comprehensive website at robertchristgau.com, and has published five books based on his journalism. He has written for MSN Music since 2006.
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