Ani Difranco‘s new album, Which Side Are You On?, will be released on January 17th and I have extremely mixed feelings about it…
The first two tracks on the album are so lifeless that I almost stopped listening, but the gritty, thunderous, magnificent title track is a whole other world.
Folk legend Pete Seeger joins Ani and her band for the revamped cover of “Which Side Are You On?.” I couldn’t imagine anyone doing as much justice to the song as Natalie Merchant did on The House Carpenter’s Daughter, but Ani’s version is astounding. She wrapped the original chorus of the union protest song in new verses with her pen aimed squarely at Washington.
“J” floats righteously angry political and social lyrics over a mellow, rhythmic melody that can only be described as swamp Reggae.
Unfortunately, the brilliance of those two songs emphasize how lackluster the other arrangements are. Of course, Ani’s lyrics are always strong even when the music fails to lift her voice up. If you’ve liked Ani’s quieter recent releases, you’ll probably like this one. But those of us that miss the harder sound of her earlier works will only find satisfaction in the two aforementioned tracks.
*mp3 hosted by & posted w/ permission of artist’s PR rep