If two words could sum up Ani Difranco’s most recent album, “Educated Guess”, then the two I would choose would be “beautifully simplistic”.

However, two words can’t do this album justice. According to her website, Difranco recorded, sang, played the instruments and mixed this album entirely by herself, exploring the freedom that owning her own record company allows her to do. It works.

Admittedly, I’d never heard any of Difranco’s music before, and I was pleasantly surprised. Okay, so from what I’d heard of Difranco, maybe I was expecting some sort of emo femme-nazi screaming about some dude who’d done her some grave injustice. Kind of like Alanis Morrisette.

But I digress. Like I said, I was pleasantly surprised. I liked my first taste of her music; it didn’t make me want to rip off my bra and set it on fire.

Some songs seemed like they were pulled from a poetry slam and set to a simple guitar, such as “Grand Canyon”. Just because I said Difranco wasn’t a femme-nazi doesn’t mean she’s not a feminist-she is. It’s just that this song doesn’t throw it in your face; spoken softly, she tells us “we are standing at ground zero/of the feminist revolution…/the time is nothing if not nigh/to let the truth out/the coolest f-word ever deserves a f***ing shout!”

“Rain Check” begins with a music box, and is the song where Difranco displays her vocal ability. Sometimes her voice alternates between a deep and soulful jazzy voice, and a high pitched chirp-one that surprisingly doesn’t detract from the music. I’ll bet that she spends a lot of time out in the woods singing with the birds.

While the album received mixed reviews, I can’t see why. Maybe those other reviewers were comparing her latest endeavor to her past successes and it’s vastly different. Maybe it’s all the same and everyone’s sick of her. I have no idea.

Through many of the songs, Difranco reminds us of the roots of lyrical music-words set to a rhythm with instruments. Through her renditions of her poetic lyrics, she shows us that you don’t even have to show off your vocal abilities to get your point across or even make it beautiful because it can be beautiful in its own right. That’s what makes it beautifully simplistic.

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