Ani DiFranco

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DiFranco spruces up her sparse folk arrangements with the odd brass band, accordion, and even an electric guitar or two, but the meat of these songs is still her distinctively funky acoustic guitar style (she borrowed her rhythmic plucking technique from R&B, but unplugged, it bears no resemblance to its genre of origin). Meanwhile, DiFranco's spunky activist lyrics are tempered here by a bigger dose of vulnerability than in previous albums, which allows for a unique mix of anger, humor, and poignancy. The best songs this time around are not bitter, but quietly reflective ("You Had Time," "Buildings and Bridges," "If He Tries Anything").

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