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Neko Case – he Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You

September 8, 2013

Neko

Because I have been really busy, but with plenty of time for listening, I have had the opportunity to really marinate in Neko Case’s latest.  I first became acquainted with Neko Case as the big female voice in the New Pornographers.  Then I was really into 2004’s The Tigers Have Spoken which positioned her as a alt-country and indie-rock Patsy Cline.  She kind of fell off of my radar screen with her subsequent albums – I listened to them all but none of them really resonated with me.  This album was really hyped and was on several fall preview lists so I purchased the deluxe edition on release Tuesday.

If you are not familiar with Neko Case here is how I would describe her for the uninitiated:

  • Big Voice – Neko has a huge and powerful voice, but not in a pop diva sorta of way.  She has a big voice like Patsy Cline – it is pop, it is country and totally unique.
  • The music is spooky/quirky – I loved the TV show Twin Peaks – Neko Case’s music is like Twin Peaks.
  • Reverb – Neko’s music is very wet, it is soaked in echo/ reverb.
  • Indescribable Pop – Neko and the New Pornographers music is hard to put you finger on – it is totally accessible, but without obvious influences.  It is elaborate, but not pretentious.

So anyway the album is great – I know it is great because the first time I listened to it I was unimpressed.  Yet every time I listen to it (and I am at about the 20th rotation) I like it more and discover something new.  I also know it is great because I am plunging into her back catalog and wondering why I don’t have it all memorized.  This is why you sometimes have to actually purchase music.  When you drop $15 you can’t just dismiss it like a you can on Spotify or You Tube  – you have made a commitment.  Damn – either I just wasted 15 bucks or I made a great investment.  I felt compelled to listen to this several times and it took the 5th rotation to enlighten me.

Again this is a great album – worthy of all the hype and worth your investment of your precious time. This will be on my top 2013 Top Ten and if I didn’t blow $15 on the deluxe edition I would nab this on vinyl (proof of my commitment to an album).  The lyrics feel very raw and intimate – not the typical hipster aloof of most of Neko’s albums.  Musically this is very ambitious pop – there is a lot going on here – there is a lot of music to explore.  You can almost get lost in the arrangements.  This is the closest to Neko’s New Pornographers material of any of her solo albums.

One final comment – if you are on a budget you can pass on the deluxe edition.  It is very beautiful, but the bonus material is nothing special.  Spend the extra money on vinyl if you are confident you will fall in love or have pre-sampled and know what you are getting into. WAIT: maybe I am wrong here.  As I blog I am listening to the deluxe’s  “Magpie To The Morning” and this songs totally touches my soul. It was flyover country on Middle Cyclone.   So there – buy the deluxe and buy the LP – support the artist (their label and your local record store) if you love them!

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