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Superficially a marketing dream - songwriter working out private demons for a ravenous public - [B]Ani DiFranco[/B] is a perplexing prospect....

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5 / 10 Superficially a marketing dream - songwriter working out private demons for a ravenous public - Ani DiFranco is a perplexing prospect. Because she's also unapologetically independent, building her career through a furious work ethic (12 LPs in nine years), and an uncompromising refusal to sign to a major.







This, evidently, is more complex than merely laughing at someone who doesn't know the meaning of 'ironic'. And yet it's not. Most of the lyrical concerns here - inadequate lovers, dysfunctional childhood - are familiar to anyone who's heard an [a]Alanis Morissette[/a] album. But even the equine princess of darkness wouldn't temper her AOR with flatulent funk misconceptions like 'Hat Shaped Hat', or endless tepid folk workouts. Truly, DiFranco is her own musical fool.







Occasionally, however, she produces something spellbinding like the griping 'Everest', or the spectral trip-hop of 'Come Away From It'. Good stuff undoubtedly, but perhaps her greatest achievement lies in never quite descending into kook psychoanalysis. So you can't begrudge her when she eventually finds the elusive closure on 'Angry Anymore'. Even if it does mean we have to listen to a banjo.







As a multi-million-selling singer-songwriter these things are enough to make her something of a maverick. Back in reality, it's admirable and abhorrent in roughly equal measures.

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