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Ani DiFranco: ¿Which Side Are You On?

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Folk queen (and Queen of the Independents) Ani DiFranco returns with a delectable treatise of protest anthems and feminist discourse. In "Which Side Are You On Now?" DiFranco gives a modern day twist to the pro-union anthem made famous by nonagenarian Pete Seeger. In DiFranco's rewrite, she sheds light on the Occupy movement, social awareness, and prompts Americans to consider shifting consciousness ("Are we gonna make more garbage or are we gonna make amends?"). "Amendment" takes an interesting turn mid-song, switching from a calm but direct declaration on women's civil liberties to a bewitchingly ominous dissent on how gender equality has yet to be achieved. "Make diversity legal/ Make it finally understood/ through the civil rights of women," she sings, her voice hauntingly cascading over heavy guitar strums. Throughout the album, DiFranco meanders on her feelings on love. In the ostensible "Promiscuity" she concludes "monogamy is that carnival trophy you earn/ when you throw that ball into that urn," while in "Albacore," a lulling love song actually about monogamy, she exclaims, "Inside me is a room to which you hold the key." I suppose love is one of those concepts we all go back and forth on but for  ¿Which Side Are You On? the mesh of amorousness, politics, and feminism reveals a heady side of DiFranco.

★★★ (out of 5 stars)

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