lifeblood: listlogs: 2008-061


date:    tue, 19 aug 2008 23:56:51 +1000
from:    sherlyn koo <>
subject: popmatters review of "didn't it feel kinder"

hi folks,

here's a review from popmatters of "didn't it feel kinder".  you can read it=
online at= .


---begin forwarded article---
amy ray
didn't it feel kinder

us release date: 5 august 2008
uk release date: available as import
by chris lindsey

the buzz on yahoo! about amy ray's didn't it feel kinder began with an=
august 6, 2008 story on cnn. amy ray performed "she's got to be" for the=
news giant and then giggled self-consciously, reminding me how much i=
appreciate the honesty and straightforwardness of these anti-pop stars. amy=
ray isn't trying to sell anything, she just wants to explore and make=

didn't it feel kinder is ray's third solo album and another departure from=
the grammy-winning and widely-loved indigo girls (one of my favorite bands=
of all time. and i'm not really a folk music guy.). it features an=
impressive guest line up, including tlc-collaborator tomi martin, brandi=
carlile, former members of the butchies, and even madonna. the album is=
produced by greg griffith, who helped to bring us le tigre (bless his=
heart). some say he brings to this album a raw, rockin', almost punkish (at=
times) sound. but all this name dropping seems a little hokey when amy ray=
strolls out of the stereo like an old friend and tells me to put aside my=
fancy pants, unhook my arms and legs from this grotesque marionette, and=
join her out on the farm with some crazy kids from alabama.

on "slc radio", she praises a politically progressive salt lake city radio=
station, "fightin' the good fight for me". because, seriously, she's "not=
here to fuck the family". obviously. she wants to "shake the same chains"=
that all of us, "across this nation", want to shake. "there's a big, big=
love i need to be a part of", she says on "blame is a killer". and=
throughout didn't it feel kinder's diverse collection of snapshots, old=
letters, and earnest diatribes, the gentleness, the shimmering brilliance=
of amy ray's hopeful message of togetherness--on that farm in georgia with=
friends and family, laughing and playing music--brings to light a big, big=
love and renders null the demonizing effects of misguided politicos who=
seem to want to make the sacred, holy experiences of individuals and groups=
of individuals into something abstract, non-human, and therefore=
justifiably destroyable for the sake of=85what? the family? but wait, the=
family's right here. amy ray is singing about it.

songs like "who sold the gun" have a grand, polished, over-the-top pop sound=
which becomes an ironically theatrical backdrop to her subject matter:=
really horrible things that are actually going on regularly these=
days--like school shootings. even when it's corny, you forgive her, because=
you get the feeling that it's really her, and she is one of the good guys.=
sometimes she and the band jam, sometimes they build into reckless, wailing=
climaxes, and it works either way. the dissonance of "who sold the gun"=
resolves into a sort of homecoming with "out on the farm"--a personal=
meditation on love, self-searching, new beginnings.

the single, "she's got to be", features charmingly muffled drums, deep bass,=
golden harmonies. maybe it's an homage to stevie nicks and fleetwood mac.=
on the chorus, power bests style, and "she's got to be" turns really=
beautiful. and then it moves back to slick =9170s funky disco. here, it works=
again. it's funny. it's fun.

this whole album is fun. and when it's not fun, it's addressing serious=
political and social issues unironically and unashamed. amy ray stands and=
delivers. and i want to follow her to the same place that i wanted to=
follow the indigo girls: out to the farm.

rating: 7/10
-- 19 august 2008

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