Artist: Ani DiFranco

Album: To The Teeth

Released: 1999

Review by: br3it

What, another one?! One of the most prolific artists in the popular music world, Ani DiFranco, hasn't quit her two-album-a-year habit yet. On November 15, she released To The Teeth, a powerful 13-song album which, as usual is chock full not only of musical goodness, but of political commentary as well.

The title song, "To The Teeth", was written as a statement about the Littleton, CO shootings-a statement which certainly reaches its mark, so to speak. Instead of being sappy, bewildered, or frightened, the song is a fiercely angry indictment of the media and the NRA. "look at where the profits are/that's how you'll find the source/of the big lie that you and I know so well/in the time it takes this cultural/deathwish to run its course/they're gonna make a pretty penny and then they're all going to hell."

Track six on To The Teeth, a song called "Hello Birmingham", is also politically oriented. In this one she speaks to her hometown, where abortion doctor Barnett Slepian was shot in his home by a "pro-life" fanatic. Whereas "To The Teeth" is sung with clenched teeth and seethes with anger, "Hello Birmingham" is a bit more wistful and ironic, and DiFranco speaks of the helpless feeling she has stepping into the voting booth, knowing that this is one of the only things she can do to attempt to change the way things are in America: "and I am feeling oh so powerless/in this stupid booth with this useless/little lever in my hand/and outside, my city is bracing/for the next killing thing."

Some of the other songs are done with a little more of a smile, which is reflected in the instrumentation. "Hello Birmingham" is straight guitar/vox/pianos, but other songs, like "Swing," contain turntables, rapping, acoustic guitars, and trumpets-all on one track. This reflects upon DiFranco's goofier side: while containing no less significant of a statement, it shows that Ani DiFranco is more than just a folk singer. Indeed, there is a lot more of a funky feel to this album than in albums past. Little Plastic Castle included trumpets in its repertoire without really deviating from the traditional "folk" sound, but To The Teeth uses brass to its full advantage.

DiFranco imports more than just eclectic instruments to her new sound; sitting in on the album to step up the level of jazz/funk are James Brown's sax man Maceo Parker and the artist formerly known as Prince. Parker plays flute on "Soft Shoulder" and saxophone on "Back Back Back" and "Swing." The Artist does backing vocals on "Providence." Not that Ani needs anyone else: on three tracks ("Freakshow", "Carry You Around", and "I Know This Bar") she does everything herself--guitars, bass, drums, and of course vocals.

Need you hear more to be impressed by this diva? Well, of course! You need to hear the album. Buy it now--Ani's touring Europe right now, and will be back in the States this spring. Make sure to keep an ear out for her, because she's known for putting on quite the electrifying live show.

Comments to br3it[at]

More Info on Ani DiFranco
Ani DiFranco Home Page
Ani Difranco in the UBL
Great Ani Fan Page
ANI Images, sounds and music samples
Ani Lyrics

1995 Ani DiFranco
1995 Imperfectly
1995 Like I Said (Songs 1990-91)
1995 Not A Pretty Girl
1995 Not So Soft
1995 Out of Range
1995 Puddle Dive
1996 Dilate
1996 More Joy, Less Shame [EP]
1996 The Past Didn't Go Anywhere
1997 Living in Clip [Box Set]
1998 Little Plastic Castle
1998 WXRV Presents: Live..
1999 Up Up Up Up Up Up

1998 Dilate [extra tracks]
1998 Dilate [extra tracks]
1998 Little Plastic Castle [xtra tks]
1998 Little Plastic Castle [xtra tks]
1998 Living In Clip
1998 Not a Pretty Girl [extra tracks]
1999 Up Up Up Up Up [extra tracks]
???? Up Up Up Up Up +1 [xtra tks]
???? Angry Anymore [single]
???? Not a Pretty Girl +1
1998 Women in (E)Motion
1999 Angry Anymore [single]

main page ATTRITION feedback