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Ani DiFranco Not A Pretty Girl

Ani DiFranco — Not A Pretty Girl (July 18, 1995)

       Ani DiFranco — Not A Pretty Girl (July 18, 1995)
Birth name: Angela Maria DiFranco
Born: September 23, 1970, Buffalo, New York, United States
Genre: Singer~Songwriter, Acoustic~Rock, Indie, Alternative
Occupations: Singer~Songwriter, Poet
Instruments: Guitar, bass guitar, tenor guitar, vocals, percussion, piano
Location: New York, NY, U.S.A.
Album release: July 18, 1995
Record Label: Righteous Babe
01. Worthy      4:32
02. Tip Toe      0:37
03. Cradle And All      4:18
04. Shy      4:46
05. Sorry I Am      4:49
06. Light Of Some Kind      4:10
07. Not A Pretty Girl      3:58
08. The Million You Never Made      4:19
09. Hour Follows Hour      6:02
10. 32 Flavors      6:08
11. Asking Too Much      2:56
12. This Bouquet      2:29
13. Crime For Crime      5:43
14. Coming Up      4:26
•¤•   All songs written by Ani DiFranco.
♣   Ani DiFranco — guitar, bass, vocals
♣   Andy Stochansky — drums, percussion instrument/percussion
♣   Ani DiFranco — producer
♣   Ed Stone — engineer
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann;  Score: ****½
♣   On her relatively spare sixth album (which features only one other musician, percussionist/vocalist Andy Stochansky, and, on one song, singer Kate Fenner), Ani DiFranco takes on a few expected topics, such as abortion (“Tiptoe”), capital punishment (“Crime for Crime”), and why she isn’t on a major label (“The Million You Never Made”). But much of the disc is given over to introspective ruminations on personal life and love. As usual, the singer is not shy (despite a song of that title) about offering criticism of the person or persons she’s addressing, but she is also self~critical and even, on “Sorry I Am,” apologetic. The songs do not add up to the complete story of a relationship, but there are some deeply felt portraits here, especially “Light of Some Kind,” in which the singer seems to be confessing to a man that she has been unfaithful to him with a woman. As usual, the imagery is urban and gritty; DiFranco is the kind of writer who likes to tell you that she’s got last night’s underwear in her back pocket as she rides home on the subway on the afternoon following an assignation. But the sometimes messy details are in the service of her view of reality, an unflinching one in which everything can be faced, even the songwriter’s emotional torment.
♣   Admittedly introverted in real life, the prolific DiFranco communicates via song and, as she says in her song “This Bouquet”: “Got a garden of songs/Where I grow all my thoughts…Maybe it’s okay that I am speechless/Cuz I picked you this bouquet.” The song is one of only a few tracks on her seventh album, Not a Pretty Girl, that remain faithful to DiFranco’s folk roots. The album all but abandons her rootsy past — it’s as if folk was simply a vehicle to her final destination. While it’s essentially a one~woman show (DiFranco plays every instrument on every track, accompanied only by drummer Andy Stochansky), the album was, at the time, the folksinger’s most mainstream effort. Yet DiFranco was as subversive as ever, challenging capital punishment on the dark “Crime For Crime” and the media on the title track: “Every time I say something they find hard to hear/They chalk it up to my anger and never to their own fear.” “The Million You Never Made” is an angry “fuck you” to those in the industry who hoped to milk the cash cow, while “Light Of Some Kind” finds DiFranco still grappling with bisexuality and social boundaries (“I still think of you as my boyfriend…Maybe you should follow my example/And go meet yourself a really nice girl”). Not only is Not a Pretty Girl DiFranco’s most cohesive studio release to date, it might also be one of the most emotionally powerful albums of all time.  ♣   http://www.slantmagazine.com/

Ani DiFranco Not A Pretty Girl



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