lifeblood: listlogs: 2008v10n131-news

ig-news-digest        wednesday, july 23 2008        volume 10 : number 131

today's subjects:
  [ig-news] review of amy's new album  [sherlyn koo <]


date: wed, 23 jul 2008 14:39:29 +1000
from: sherlyn koo <>
subject: [ig-news] review of amy's new album

hey folks,

anna creech has reviewed amy's new album for  you can read
the review online at:


- ---begin forwarded article---
music review: amy ray - didn't it feel kinder
written by anna creech
published july 21, 2008

amy ray has been through a lot of changes over the past couple of years.
her musical partnership with emily saliers, the indigo girls, finished out
their contract with epic records, and then signed with hollywood records.
the album they released, despite our differences, was well-received by
their dedicated fan base and critics alike, but despite the apparent
success, the band and label parted ways earlier this year.

in the midst of all this, ray wrote and recorded her third solo studio
album, didn't it feel kinder. unlike the previous two albums, this is not a
collection of strident rock-with-punk-attitude songs mixed in with poppier
dance-rock anthems. rather, this album signals a shift to a more
introspective ray, focusing on mellower arrangements with only a few hints
of her earlier style (such as the lead single, "blame is a killer").

fans will likely be surprised upon first listen -- i know i was -- but
there were signs of this new amy ray on despite our differences ("three
county highway" and "dirt & dead ends" come to mind). keep on listening,
because eventually this new sound will become as familiar as the old one.

the two opening tracks are slow, melancholy anti-folk tunes that make use
of repetitive poetry to convey meaning and story. perhaps this is why the
third track, "bus bus," stands out for me. the song makes use of rhythmic
repetition as well, but with a bit more funk and soul in the arrangements.
i was reminded, a little, of rilo kiley's "moneymaker."

"cold shoulder" is an acoustic nod to the poppy party tracks from prom
("driver education," "blender"). ray is one of few songwriters i am
familiar with who can deftly combine a political protest song with a love
song and come out with something so infectious that you can't help but nod
along with the beat. she uses the same trick on "who sold the gun," minus
the love song bit -- just straight up danceable anti-war political protest
this time.

politics have been the source of ray's musical muse throughout her career,
so it's no surprise to find political statements scattered throughout this
album. if liberal politics offends you to the extent that you can't stand
to hear it, you may not want to listen to amy ray's music. her causes are
numerous, from the preservation of native american lands to supporting
low-power fm and community radio ("slc radio"), and she does not hesitate
to speak her mind in verse. however, for the most part, her approach isn't
polemic. this is ray -- raw and real.

even though ray worked with some of the same musicians on didn't it feel
kinder as she did for stag and prom, this album has a completely different
feel to it. the message is the same, but the medium has shifted. fans
expecting a punk rock album may be disappointed, but i think that didn't it
feel kinder will find its audience among listeners who enjoy the message as
much as the medium.

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end of ig-news-digest v10 #131

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