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If you’ve ever seen Ani Difranco play live, you understand why she demands a list of playlists: she may be tiny, but her voice and her music are intensely powerful. She plays her guitars so hard that she breaks fingers playing and has to switch instruments between each and every song.
Ani is an inspiring woman for so many reasons. For starters, in addition to being an amazing writer and musician, she started her own business at the age of 18. Today, Righteous Babe Records is 24 years old and home to some awesome, innovative musicians. She has always been an advocate for human rights, and she has been relatively open about her support for marijuana legalization since well before it was cool. She was the featured artist in High Times back in April, 2004.
Sure, she’s made a few high-publicity mistakes recently, but she had the grace to apologize and then apologize again when her first apology was interpreted as a non-apology (which are so common these days). She’s also open about her own struggles, from her first marriage falling apart while she was touring to her abortion years ago. If you haven’t heard her music before, be prepared for a visceral, raw experience.
Because of her emotionality and how prolific her career has been (17 studio albums, two written and performed with Utah Phillips, two live albums and 16 concert recording “bootleg” albums), I chose to create a series of playlists that highlight some of her best songs in different emotional ranges.
These songs are songs you will sob through, but Ani’s ability to give voice to visceral pain and her beautiful treatment of love lost will have you feeling ready to try it again.
Ani is known as an angry girl, and it’s clear where that comes from if you’ve listened to her early albums. This playlist will help you work out your rage. You could also just listen to the whole album “Dilate.”
Ani uses her music to encourage others to find their own best selves and give what they can back to the world. When you need to feel inspired, this is the playlist for it!
Ani has long had a particularly strong following in lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, and feminist circles. She’s very open about her fluid sexuality and her disdain for gender roles. Next time you feel like stickin’ it to the Man, lady-style, this is the playlist for you!
Ani’s way with words works well when she tries for sensual, sexy songs too. From passionate to soft and romantic, Ani’s sexy songs will get just about anyone in the mood.
Ani’s emotionality can be exactly what you need when you feel like a good cry. Her lyrics and guitar will help you let out the sadness and hopefully leave you feeling purged when you’re done with this playlist.
What’s that you hear? Horns? Yes, when Ani gets a full band behind her, the result is often something joyful that begs to be danced to. The next time you’re getting ready for a party or driving to an event, put this playlist on!
Ani’s love life has inspired some of the bets music she’s ever made. Her songs about falling in love and loving another person passionately are incredible in that they capture a feeling so hard to give voice to (and she does it without using the word “love”).
Ani is nothing if not an activist. From speaking out against racial discrepancies in the application of the death sentence to openly supporting and giving voice to a woman’s right to choose. her political songs can be very powerful.
As you can see if you’re new to her music, Ani Difranco has quiet a collection of songs under her belt. Did we miss your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!
Photo Credit: Rtsanderson under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons