Ani DiFranco is back with her ninth solo studio album: Little Plastic Castle. This album features 12 new songs about love, relationships, goldfish life, collective memory and girl police. Recorded w/ Ani's touring band and includes guest artists like Sara Lee (bass: Indigo Girls), Jerry Marotta (drums: Peter Gabriel), John Hassel (trumpet: K.D. Lang) and a 3-piece horn section to add the right amount of "ummph" to the album. Track highlights include: "Fuel," "As Is," "Two Little Girls," "Pulse," "Pixie," "Glass House" and more!
As she's gone from the Young Woman Who Could to the Woman Who Has, Ani DiFranco has explored more than her share of musical styles, all the while remaining true to her core. Even during her most extreme departures, you could hear the sound of the early albums coming through. On Little Plastic Castle
, an album on which people are credited for adding pontifications, incantations, and an "evil machine" to songs, you could--for the first time--hear an almost completely new artist. Call her Ani, version 3; she couldn't have existed without hearing all of Ani, version 1's albums, and she wouldn't be as funky and experimental without the influence of Ani, version 2. She still has a lot to say--about politics, about relationships, about herself--but the messages aren't thrown in your face here (well, not as often). Instead they're wrapped in funky hooks and lots of production--anything you learn from DiFranco on this album will come from pure repetition, and for the first time, the album is varied enough, catchy enough, and subtle enough that you'll push the repeat button while cleaning the house. --Randy Silver