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Not So Soft

Ani DiFranco

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Album Review

Ani DiFranco showed musical growth on her second album, playing her guitar more fluidly and adding occasional harmony vocals on the choruses and even the occasional bit of percussion. Her songs had more structured melodies with shorter, more direct lyrics that sounded more like song lyrics and less like free-form poetry than those on her first album. And her subject matter also saw changes, as she for the most part moved beyond the edgy breakup songs of her debut to less personal, more political concerns, including an attack on the music business ("The Next Big Thing"). But there still was personal material, notably two songs, "She Says" and "The Whole Night," that contemplated lesbianism. These tended to undercut the point of the album's most striking track, "Gratitude," whose general point — that women's bodies are their own and they shouldn't have to put out if they don't want to — was of course well taken, even if its specific circumstances were suspect: If you don't want a guy to put the moves on you, maybe you shouldn't get into bed with him.

Biography

Born: 23 September 1970 in Buffalo, NY

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

A folkie in punk's clothing, Ani DiFranco battled successfully against the Goliath of corporate rock to emerge as one of the most influential and inspirational cult heroines of the 1990s. A resolute follower of the D.I.Y. ethos, DiFranco released her records through her own indie label, Righteous Babe, slowly but steadily building a devout grassroots following on the strength of a relentless tour schedule. An ardent feminist and an open bisexual, her songs tackled issues like rape,...
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