Ani DiFranco’s music is old news. Or is it? She has, after all, been putting out at least one album a year since 1990.

So how does a musician keep her originality, develop artistically and continue to experiment musically without losing any poignancy or individuality from each song?

If anyone knows the answer to this question, it has to be DiFranco. In her new album, “Knuckle Down,” DiFranco displays her chameleon nature as an artist.

Worlds apart from her last album, “Educated Guess,” DiFranco uses the talents of more than half a dozen guest musicians on her most recent release. Seasoned fans know to expect the unexpected in her music, and this album continues to mark the evolving and innovative movement DiFranco’s talent produces.

Focusing in on the individuality of personal experiences as a woman, as well as the struggle to fit into one’s own skin, DiFranco produces 12 songs that all possess the depth and flow of a well crafted short story that ultimately lead to further introspection. Each track remains innately personal, while simultaneously relatable.

The 10th track on the album, “Paradigm,” paints a picture of DiFranco as “just a girl in a room full of women” as she observes her mother “campaigning door to door.” This song weaves in and out of DiFranco’s childhood and makes not only a political statement, but also reinforces her commitment to activism as a woman and a citizen of a democratic nation.

Track eight, a spoken-word piece, haunts with its insightful lyrics and unchained structure, recounting the personal and self-investigatory process as it replays through a harrowed woman’s mind.

Remaining true to her earthy and organic sound, DiFranco continues to create music that is truly worthy of the term “art.”

Gray can be reached at kgray@campustimes.org.



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