ANI DIFRANCO: EDUCATED GUESS (2004)
1) Platforms; 2) Swim; 3) Educated Guess; 4) Origami; 5) Bliss Like This; 6) The 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.
One may easily deduce whether this here reviewer was enthralled or not by Educated Guess, socially conscious singer-songwriter Ani DiFranco 3,456th studio album, from the fact that it took him three listens and a couple read-ups on other people's reviews and descriptions to understand that it is, in fact, hugely different from her previous release, Evolve, in that it completely drops her soft-jazz band and, once again, reverts the artist to fully acoustic, fully individual mode.
Honestly, I did not even notice that. And as far as I am concerned, this only means that it makes no goddamn difference any more. Just fifty more minutes of time wasted on melodies, words, and feelings that bring nothing new — or nothing good, for that matter — to the table. In fact, that statement is pretty much definitive: there is not a single track here that could even begin to be described as a «highlight». «Lowlights», yes, not the least of them her usually flat beatnik rant 'Grand Canyon' where she proclaims that "People, we are standing at ground zero of the feminist revolution... coolest F-word ever deserves a fucking shout! I mean, why can't all decent men and women call themselves feminists, out of respect for those who fought for this?" Gimme a fuckin' break there, lady.
The saddest realization of all is, of course, that by now she has completely resigned to preaching to the choir. Long-term fans cannot go wrong with this or anything else, but how can you expect to make new converts if all you're offering them is a bunch of on-the-spot constructed, sloppy, dissonant chord sequences worthy of just about every guitar player on this planet with two or three years of playing experience? How do you expect intelligent people to follow you if each of your songs places such dreadful importance on the lyrics (more spoken than sung), yet, for all we know, there are only two topics concerned: «Treat me like a human being instead of like a fuckhole, and then we'll go on talking» and «Fight the machine, fight the machine». Do butterflies and coloured rainbows even exist for this woman? Thumbs down. At this point, the only remedy that can be prescribed for the patient is an album of surf rock covers.