Still Riot

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On her ninth album (her fifth of the 1990s), Ferron continued to explore life's detail with a sort of desperate hopefulness, repeating over and over on the title track, "There is a way through constant sorrow," and seeking that way while acknowledging that sorrow in the rest of the songs. (Even "Dazzle The Beast," nominally a Christmas song, was downbeat.) As usual, she employed an unflinching honesty to work her way through to insight, noting in "Venus As Appearances," for example, "I wasted nights with dreams of kisses so hot / 'Course the ending was same as if I'd gone without her." Musically, she continued to develop dense arrangements that went well beyond her talkie beginnings. If anything, however, the arrangements were too dense to be really moving, even as the lyrics sometimes were too involved to be really involving. This was heard best in the new recording of "Ain't Life A Brook" (copyright 1978), perhaps her best song, which was more impressive in its earlier renditions with only an acoustic guitar than it was here. All of which is to say that instead of being as stunning as her records usually are, Still Riot was merely impressive.

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