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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Warmer Side of Neko, 2 Sep 2013
This review is from: The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You (Audio CD)
Listening context: This album became available to listen to via streaming approximately two weeks before official release on [...] First Listen page. I have listened to it on a daily basis during that period. I believe this is important to know since most Neko songs take a while to digest.

Neko Case is finally back after more than a four year absence since her latest release, Middle Cyclone, which dates back to March 2009, with the long titled The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You. The Neko Case sound is very much still intact. There is, is my view, a gradual change still taking place in her emphasis. While her earlier recordings were more country oriented, her (fantastic) 2006 Fox Confessor Brings the Flood veered towards alt-country with some eccentric twists. That album nailed such a combination perfectly with some incredible tunes such as Star Witness and The Needle Has Landed (heavy Neil Young influence). Middle Cyclone was similar but something of a Fox-Lite experience, being more pop music oriented but yet warmer. It was a mixture of clear cut pop tunes like This Tornado Loves You (why it was not promoted more is still a mystery to me) and more complex ones like Prison Girls and The Next Time You Say Forever. The eccentric style from Fox had thus paved the way for a warmer and straightforward production.

The Worse... is in a sense a continuation of this process. The first glimpse of the album is Neko's voice singing When you catch life, you look like your mother.... There are some very tender songs on this album, as if Neko was being intent on opening her heart in some instances to her listeners. That being said, it is a real grower and is on par with Middle Cyclone in my opinion. That is not to say that Neko has lost her sense of adventure in production, cases in point are Afraid (resembles some Middle Cyclone songs) and Ragtime. The album drifts like Middle Cyclone between slow and fast tunes. This works better on this album than Middle Cyclone, which was in my opinion the main flaw (minor one) on that album.

In whole this is a great set. The one sore exception is Nearly Midnight, Honolulu. Besides the unnecessary overuse of the F-word, the song sounds more like an experimental tunes best left for friends having some beers rather than a tune stuck in between other great (and mostly warm) songs. It could also be slightly longer; 38 minutes of material is rather short.
In whole, I strongly recommend this album. Those yearning for a more Fox type of album may be disappointed since it steers more towards Middle Cyclone. Those ready for added warmth from Neko, The Worse... is a treasure.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 15 Sep 2013 11:00:11 BDT
I have to take exception to one thing you wrote in your review. And that's the comment 'In whole this is a great set. The one sore exception is Nearly Midnight, Honolulu. Besides the unnecessary overuse of the F-word, the song sounds more like an experimental tunes best left for friends having some beers...'. How you think the the F-word is unnecessary in the context of this song is beyond me! For a start, it only appears twice so it's hardly overused. And it seems to me that the song centres on that word. This is just a guess and so I may be wrong but I think this is drawn from real life and that Neko probably witnessed a child being spoken to by it's mother in this way. In my opinion it may well be the most poignant song Neko has ever written. And that's saying something!

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Sep 2013 11:51:41 BDT
gnagfloW says:
You have a point that it is only appears twice so I should have phrased this in a different manner. It has grown on me, especially within the context you write, but this was how I viewed it after having listened to the album for two weeks as I clearly stated. I tend to differ in opinions of my own reviews after a while; this album is really good and ...Honolulu is a (slow) grower.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Sep 2013 15:37:42 BDT
Did you get the delux version of this album? There's a cover of the Robyn Hitchcock song 'Madonna of the Wasps' on there and it's really good.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Sep 2013 15:56:06 BDT
gnagfloW says:
There is an addition of my review on the Deluxe version regarding this version; I agree, very fun version of that song, not necessary better than the Hitchcock version (has been a favorite of mine since its initial release) but a more eccentric take. By far the best addition of those extra songs. I play it constantly these days and have actually began listening again to Hitchcock.
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