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This album is a return to everything pure that might have been lost in some previous albums. Though I gave a good review to "Evolve" as well, it often lacks the subtly, grace and raw honestly that is ever present in "Educated Guess". She is on her own on this one, in a very literal sense. This album was recorded, played, produced and mixed all by DiFranco for the first time ever. Not since 1994's "Out of Range" & "Puddle Dive" has our little folk singer gone into the studio with nothing but her guitar to play, her soul to bare and plain old moxie. This is not a big band album. There are no tricks, aside from her singing her own back-up. There are even a hand full of poems thrown in that bring us back to the days of her self-titled release and "Not So Soft". And not since 1998's "Dilate" have we been so privledged to feel so touched by and so related to her pain.
The album is not entirely depressing. "Bliss Like This" is a bubbly and misleadingly upbeat number that gives a listener a mixture of longing for a happier past and hope for a happier future. "Grand Canyon" is an inspiring patriotic poem that reminds us that it is the citizens that form a country, not solely it's politicians.
To simply write off this entire recording because DiFranco isn't reaching through the speakers and grabbing the American male by thier collective junk is simply ignorant and insensitive to the mood and timing of this release. We can't all be aggressive and bold at all times.Read more ›
"so my heart finally broke
it was so long bent
and it broke in three places
when it finally went
it wanted only to say what it meant
so it suffered every punishment
now it lives in a shack outside of town
and only the wolves are out there listening
and in her dreams they chase her down
their moonlit eyes are glistening
and it is you each time
it is you."
This is a very dark chapter in Ani's collection, but it's definitely worth it. There's a raw power to "Educated Guess" that's comforting to me in moments of weakness & fraility in my own life.
Educated Guess has some of the trademark ani elements present in it: inventive guitar, excellent song structure, and lyrics that are strong as well as sad. it is the first album that she has made in about ten years that finds her entirely alone in the studio, tho recent albums have featured a handful of solo tracks. you can hear her singing to herself (literally and figuratively), trying to fill the space left by her beloved bandmates and friends. but she is quiet, and her singing is sometimes more "arranged" and "conducted" than it has been previously. there are several spoken word tracks, and on them she is just as brazenly political as we fans would have her be. i can't remember the last time (and maybe there never was a time) that she used the word "feminist" in a song, but in the vast and triumphant Grand Canyon, that's exactly what she does. she has come clean and recorded the word that underlines so much of her life and work, which is perhaps a significant revolution for the revolutionary herself.
the opening poem sets the record up: "life knocked me off my platforms," she admits, and then proceeds to play and sing alone for thirteen more tracks. her sorrow is evident and it has taken a long time to come to fruition, but while her heart may simply be a muscle that is now sore, she is no less passionate or committed to life / art.
on Educated Guess, her music, like her ideals, remains dynamic and essential.
this record is stunning. listen hard.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Just trying to complete my Ani DiFranco collection. Got all her newer stuff, now I'm going to get the older stuff.Published on January 19, 2012 by frederick
To dismiss the majority of this adventurous advertised return to form of stripped down acoustics as overindulgent seems like a mistake. Read more
I love Ani.
I like rock Ani. I like Jazz Ani. I like angry Ani. I like cute Ani. And hey, even when she's on a bandwagon that went right on passed by because life got in... Read more
First of all, i do not think this sounds like a return to ani's her and her guitar albums. But I do think this is possibly one of my favorite of her albums, especially when i am in... Read morePublished on August 20, 2006 by K. Miller
In this album Ani does it all by herself: lyrics and music (as usual), production, mastering, mixing... and the result is undoubtedly beautiful. Read morePublished on July 13, 2006 by Daniela Manfredini
I came across Ani Difranco's music through covers by guitar slinging folk girls, woman who were quite good at what they did and honored their influences. Read morePublished on June 16, 2006 by Onebrother
First of all, this is not pop music. It is evident that some reviewers here are viewing it as such, and that means that they are not fit to write a review of this. Read morePublished on June 26, 2005 by S. Recording
I am an avid ani fan, but this is my least favorite album since "not so soft." And I think the two records have the same problem: no joy. Read morePublished on April 8, 2005 by William Krischke
I thought I would really like this album. I loved the fact that Ani was responsible for every aspect of the recording, playing all the instruments and doing all the production--it... Read morePublished on March 29, 2005 by C. Bell
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