Ani Difranco .:. Reprieve

Monday, December 21, 2009 |

Reprieve is the latest entry in Ani Difranco's astonishing catalogue of music. It sounds more like a diary than an album, and it's no surprise. In addition to touring nonstop with a crew of musicians as diverse as former members of James Brown's and the Indigo Girls' bands, she manages to record an album every eleven months or so, chronicling everything from her disgust with the current political regime to her shaky relationship to those friendships that seem to never stop going.

Reprieve is a mix of both. It takes the slow, meandering tone of her recent albums, which works well with Difranco's emotional songs, which are always stabbingly effective ("I was homesick and I was high/surrounded by a language/in which I could only say hello"). But that same approach falters when she applies it to politics, and we're left with almost laughably random lyrics like "Ramadan orange alert/everybody put on your gas mask." Not that I disagree with her politics, but it's a point that's already been made better and conglomerations of catch-phrases like "trickle down Israel, patriarchies realign" are something that no one understands and no one wants to hear. Still, it's worth listening and using the "skip" button for the good songs, which are plenty.