Ani DiFranco – Educated Guess

“The light blue flickering rhythm of the neighbor’s big console TV / is basking on the ceiling of another insomniac spree / and outside sleep’s open window between the drops of rain / history is writing a recipe book for every earthly pain.” I can remember youthful summer nights of lingering boredom that always fade into the transient misery of loneliness. “The True Story of What Was,” is just one of four spoken word tracks from Educated Guess that leaves a lasting impression.

Ani DiFranco is one inspirational woman. She strums her guitar and speaks her mind, always clearing her own path. She is known for her soulfully confessional lyrics and her strong activist roots. As if being a folk goddess weren’t enough, she also created Righteous Babe Records so that she, and others, could have artistic control over their releases. The 35-year-old indie feminist has built a grass roots following with her fourteen full-length studio recordings and shows no sign of slowing down. Despite achieving such financial success, DiFranco prefers to be known as a whole-hearted performer true only to her art. 

Educated Guess is a generally appealing release, although it comes and goes. Moments are vivid and flowing while others are halting and provoking. Ani’s inventive lyrics match her unique vocal stylings; both are refreshing. The four spoken tracks provide elegiac breaks between her acoustic memoirs. DiFranco is a true poet of our time although her guitar work leaves a lot to be desired. “Bubble” is the best guitar track on the mix revealing a heavy, melodic sound. Most of the tunes have a light easygoing sound but are complimented by sudden unanticipated changes. The disc is an eclectic mixture of beautiful pieces, but in the end I am left thinking that the work lacks a consistent flow. Even so, there are still pieces of the whole that are really amazing.

DiFranco obviously did not start out as an artist aiming for financial success, as if that is ever the goal of a genuine “artist.” She has always created music with a message to be heard, apathetic to the ever-passing fads of popular music. She expresses herself passionately through her music. Although Educated Guess isn’t pure pop pleasure, it is a sincere view of the world from the viewpoint of a qualified spectator. Ani DiFranco has a voice to be heard.

(Righteous Babe Records)