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My Better Self

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Audio CD, September 13, 2005
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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Teen For God 3:28$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Miss You Till I Meet You 4:27$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Echoes 3:59$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Blue Light Of The Flame 3:05$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere 4:29$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Two Sides Of The River 4:08$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Empire 3:47$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Comfortably Numb 5:26$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  9. So Close To My Heart 3:11$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen10. Beautiful Enemy 3:10$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen11. Liar 2:58$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen12. You Rise And Meet The Day 3:06$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen13. The Hudson 4:40$1.29  Buy MP3 

Amazon's Dar Williams Store


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Dar Williams - "As Cool As I Am"


The initial idea came in a flash. Dar Williams was driving on an isolated highway, crossing from New York into Ontario, surrounded by frozen fields, silver trees, and empty sky, when inspiration struck.

“I thought, ‘I want to write a biker song!,’” Williams says with a laugh. “And then my second thought was, ‘I want to write an epic biker song.’ ... Read more in Amazon's Dar Williams Store

Visit Amazon's Dar Williams Store
for 15 albums, 12 photos, videos, and 8 full streaming songs.

Frequently Bought Together

My Better Self + In the Time of Gods + Many Great Companions
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 13, 2005)
  • Original Release Date: 2005
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Razor & Tie
  • ASIN: B000A2H5UQ
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #110,188 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

My Better Self is both political and personal, combining songs of love and hate with tales that illustrate some of the many social and environmental issues that Dar holds dear to her heart. Recorded in Woodstock, NY, My Better Self features several guests, including Soulive, Ani DiFranco, Marshall Crenshaw and Patty Larkin. BMG. 2005.

As the folk singer-songwriter continues to incorporate more pop elements, Dar Williams conjures a whole coming-of-age era in an album that suggests a 1970s soundtrack suffused with 1960s idealism. My Better Self's opening track, "Teen for God," evokes the bouncy innocence of Bible camp and the bittersweet ironies of innocence lost. "Echoes" sounds like it could have inspired a singalong around that campfire, a secular hymn for the global village about the big impact of small actions. On Williams's revival of Neil Young's "Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere," Marshall Crenshaw provides vocal counterpoint and stinging guitar, while she teams with Ani DiFranco for a disembodied duet on Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb." With its intimations of immortality, "Blue Light of the Flame" features a shimmering keyboard generating space-age atmospherics reminiscent of early David Bowie. "So Close to My Heart" and "The Hudson" (with harmonies from Patty Larkin) return Williams's music to its folk base, but much of the rest suggests rites of passage, at a time when all sorts of "better selves" seem open to possibility, with the radio always on. --Don McLeese

More Dar Williams

Mortal City

The Green World

The Beauty of the Rain

Customer Reviews

Dar's heartfelt songs touch a deep place in your heart.
D. Wahl
As a loyal fan of Dar with all her CDs, I rank this one at or near the top, in the running with "Mortal City".
The chief
This is a very good album which past Dar Williams fans will enjoy.
Brian Birgen

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Bradley F. Smith on December 2, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Over the years, Dar's album formats have taken on a certain similarity: A few bouncy originals to kick things off, then a cover or two, a few stripped down acoustic "folk" tunes, a confessional or two, all infused with a vocal or two by the occasional guest artist. This time, we get Marshall Crenshaw, who lives near where Dar recorded this album in Woodstock, NY, and Ani DiFranco and Patty Larkin, plus the members of Soulive. This is a pretty record. It's got what seems a first: a straight-ahead attempt at a blues: "Two Sides of the River." It's better for its instrumental qualities than its lyrics. Also, Dar's got a bit of a river fetish going this time. "Hudson" also refers to one, though river metaphors, in general, are a tad hoary. I think "Teen For God" is among her wittiest originals. And I guess I'm the only one who's never heard Neil Young's ancient "Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere," so this cover sounds pretty cool to me, and I think it fits Dar's style very well. "Echoes" reminds me of nothing so much as Julie Gold's treacly "From A Distance." Overall, this adds positively to Dar's discography, though it won't make any dent in the pop charts, which is too bad, though she's not that kind of artist anyway. If anyone reading this is still a Dar novice, which seems unlikely, try "The Honesty Room" first. It's her first, and still best, album.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan Landry on September 13, 2005
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I think this CD is fantastic, and fans of Dar will not be disappointed at all. However, as great as it is, I don't think it deserves five stars. Maybe 4.5 stars. The songs have a harder edge to them than her usual material, both in the lyrics and in the music itself. It's not a "folky" as I'm used to with Dar. And that's not a complaint, she sounds like a natural with the harder edged material and right at home. The originals are all first rate, and her cover of Neil Young's "Everyone Knows this is Nowhere" is good as well; she makes it her own. The song that will probably get the most attention will be her cover of Floyd's "Comfortably Numb." Because it's a cover of Floyd's "Comfortably Numb" and because it is a duet with Ani Difranco. I like it, she doesn't do a straight ahead, note-for-note cover, instead she makes it her own in her own style. And I like how she doesn't even try to replicate Gilmour's guitar solos, instead she skips the first one, and has an acoustic guitar and voice "collage" for the second sole. Recommended.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Jeremy J. Goard on September 24, 2005
Format: Audio CD
"My Better Self" is arguably Dar's most accomplished album since "Mortal City", but lyrically it still falls well below the mark set by her first two albums. Somehow the major poetry ("major" as in Paul Simon, later Lennon/McCartney, earlier Billy Joel major) in songs like "Traveling Again", "When Sal's Burned Down", "The Babysitter's Here", "Iowa", "As Cool As I Am", and "Western New York" turned into a Frankenstein third album, and then two nice sounding albums with far too many boring cliches, and now this: a *very* nice sounding album with some great collaborations, where, unfortunately, the best poetry is in the covers.

If the above seems surprisingly negative for a 4-star review, it's because Dar still has one of the most amazing voices out there, and because she and her people have gotten very skilled at blending the best elements of folk, indie pop, and old-school Beatles pop into something both soothing and challenging to my ear. As a poetry lover, though, I have to say that Dar needs to go back and read some Auden, some Millay, some... something. The author of "The Ocean" has far too much poetic talent to be coasting.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Music Lover on June 9, 2006
Format: Audio CD
There is no question that Dar Williams is a remarkable songwriter. The difficulty for all songwriters comes when they try to render it into a sound recording. There are many choices to make - Do I keep it raw? Do I produce it? And to what degree? I love all of Dar's work, because her songwriting carries it no matter what is going on in the production. And it often takes artists years for their songwriting and production to sync up. Well, Dar has done it. She has created (with help) a remarkably well-produced work that can stand up to any major label album (and this is no small achievement). She has come into her own as an artist and a musical icon.

As for the reviewer below who lambasts the album just because he doesn't like her cover "Comfortably Numb", that just shows a lack of appreciation of the artist and a prejudice towards anything that doesn't fit his tastes. For those listeners who like the raw releases of Dar's early work, you may not like this album as much as her earlier works, but her brilliance is shining as brightly as it ever was in this album. Every song is outstanding, lyrically and production-wise. The rendition she does of "Comfortalby Numb" is stunning. It subtley takes the song to a new level, with Ani Defranco on backing vocals. The song seems far more relevant today and in the context Dar puts it in than it did with Pink Floyd. Dar Williams is growing as an artist, experimenting and rendering beauty at every turn. Perhaps her listeners would do well to follow her lead.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By pagesage on October 17, 2006
Format: Audio CD
I went to Borders ten minutes before opening the day this album was released. Listening to the CD beforehand seemed like a waste of time because I love (LOVE) Dar Williams and was certain I would love this album. It stayed in my car's player for about 4 weeks before I and my fellow Dar-loving roommate admitted the sad truth: we hated (HATED) the CD. I like the lyrics for the most part, but she didn't pull the songs together this time. I don't know what sound she was going for with songs like, "Liar" and "Two sides of the River", but it doesn't work for me, and doesn't work with her voice and style in my opinion. I like the tune of "So Close to my Heart," but the repetition of the phrase 'close to my heart' immediately gets (and stays) really annoying. To be fair, I am a fan of Dar's raw stuff - Dar and guitar, and minimalist everything else and feel that to mix the honesty of her voice and lyrics with mainstream pop-culture-esque accompaniment seems vulgar. Listen before you buy - this certainly is a departure from Dar's norm; and honestly, are you all serious about loving this album so much?
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