Nothing short of massive, Ani DiFranco's Imperfectly is stunning in its arrangements, personal in its delivery and gritty with bravado. The artist as auteur is first to come to mind, juxtaposing cinematic imagery with lyrical subterfuge.
The songs are infectious and garnered from a Feminista on the run, a hero rejecting heroism, coy when it counts "smile pretty and watch your back", this record plays like a mantra for anyone packing outsider status. "In or Out", contemplates sexuality and gender roles in their trusty pigeon holes, Ani sings, "I've got no criteria for sex or race/ I just want to hear your voice/ I just want to see your face". Despite its title and Ani's ever-changing hairstyles, "Fixing Her Hair" is not about a pre-show motel room electric razor fiasco. "Fixing Her Hair" is the story of a woman settling for far less than we would like her to be and is punctuated by mandolin creating the perfect backdrop as this bedroom mirror story unfolds "she sits there like America suffering through slow reform…She is still playing the martyr/ and I am still praying for revolution". "Every State Line" as the liner notes suggest, is all vocal chords. It's also this hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy, fuck you very much, tackling such themes as borders, police mentality and prejudice.
The songs are predominantly acoustic guitar and when other instruments emerge it is always a choice match like trumpet on "Circle of Light" and the creepy electric guitar on "I'm No Heroine". Imperfectly hosts a slew of guest musicians and a certain Mr. Andy Stochansky drumming away.
On the shelf of any self-respecting person's music collection, Imperfectly, is one for the masses. It's great in gift baskets for large corporations and the doorsteps of political officials. This is the best of what being an independent artist has to offer -- radical thought coupled with radical music.
Artwork: Paint/ Black and White Photography
Love: Lovely and Fancy-Free
Players: Geoff Perry – Bass, Tim Allan – Mandolin, Greg Horn – Trumpet, George Puleo – Electric Guitar, Andy Stochanksy – Drums, Mary Ramsey - Viola
AKA: The Lesbian One
- MONTRÉAL GAZETTE