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Dual Dose ofDiFranco Is Dynamite

***1/2 ANI DiFRANCO, 'Revelling / Reckoning," Righteous Babe

April 08, 2001|NATALIE NICHOLS

Singer-songwriter Ani DiFranco is right on in so many ways that she needs a double CD to illuminate them all. By the way, this all-new collection (due in stores Tuesday) is the fiercely independent musician's 15th on her own label. (Right on!)

"They're buying and selling off shares of air," she warbles in "Your Next Bold Move," the lead-off track on the "Reckoning" disc. In light of the Bush administration's recent decision to put U.S. economic interests ahead of the Kyoto global-warming treaty, this unblinking take on the despair and anger of being "surrounded by a world's worth of things you just can't excuse" is right on time.

By turns confrontational and introspective, the low-key folk-pop on "Reckoning" showcases DiFranco's intimate vocals and nimble guitar playing in carefully nuanced songs that make the personal political and the political most decidedly personal.

This half might become a bit depressing to less-than-true believers, although fans probably wouldn't mind another disc's worth of same. But-right on-'Revelling" instead continues her creative boundary-pushing of recent years with a more casual, up-tempo set incorporating funk, hip-hop and jazz elements.

On such numbers as the erotic, horn-driven "Ain't That the Way," DiFranco, her band and guest saxophonist Maceo Parker create a neo-soul vibe. She proves equally adept with Latin-flavored jams, street-poet rapping and moments of nearly pure pop in tunes that, while hardly devoid of social concerns, generally reflect on how relationships change yet somehow really don't. Kind of like DiFranco herself. Right on!

*

Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor) to four stars (excellent). The albums are already released unless otherwise noted.

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