This disc could be summed up in one clich'ed phrase: beating a dead horse. As much as Ani has distanced herself both musically and lyrically in the past few years from her earlier work, it strikes me as odd that she would drudge it back up in live form to create a mediocre attempt at a crowd-pleasing compilation disc. The newer stuff - songs from Reckoning/Revelling & To The Teeth live up to the quality I expect from her work and translate powerfully in a live forum. I thoroughly enjoyed hearing a live performance of the poem Self-Evident. Hence the two stars. The older stuff is shouting and nothing more. It lacks emotion, and suffers from the wild cacophony of instrumentation, rendering once-powerful songs disturbingly reminiscent of the dying twitches of a wounded animal. People grow and change over time, and Ani's no exception to this rule. Her music has always been a reflection of this growth. That her latest discs have lacked the raw anger and emotion of her earlier discs is no coincidence in my mind, only a reflection of changing views - seeing things as less black and white and more grey. In fact, it would be less beleivable if her music and lyrics were unchanging. It's one of the things I appreciate most about her. This compilation is a betrayal of who she is at this moment, and as much as I love her older work, it's clear to me that her heart is not in these songs. As for buying the disc - I don't regret it, but it's an awfully pricy piece for only a few truly enjoyable tracks...
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